Gaming Disorder, Internet
Gaming Disorder, Internet
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- Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is where the “gamers” play compulsively, to the exclusion of other interests resulting in clinically significant impairment or distress.
- For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of sufficient severity and would be evident for at least 12 months.
- IGD is identified in section III of DSM-5 as a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for inclusion in the main book as a formal disorder.
- On June 18, 2018, WHO recognized gaming disorder as a mental health condition.
- Gaming disorder (digital or video) is included in ICD-11.
- Predominant age—adolescence
- Predominant sex—male
- Median prevalence of 2.0%
- Prevalence rates are highest in Eastern Asian countries and male adolescents aged 12 to 20 years (1).
Etiology and Pathophysiology
- On the molecular level, Internet addiction is characterized by an overall reward deficiency that entails decreased dopaminergic activity (2).
- On the level of neural circuitry, Internet and gaming addiction lead to neuroadaptation and structural changes that occur as a consequence of prolonged increased activity in brain areas associated with addiction (2).
- On a behavioral level, Internet and gaming addicts appear to be constricted with regards to their cognitive functioning in various domains (2).
- IGD shares multiple features with drug addictions, including elevated impulsivity, cognitive inflexibility, and attentional biases.
The following risk factors were found to be significantly associated with IGD (3):
- Functional and dysfunctional impulsivity
- Belief self-control
- Pursuit of desired appetitive goals
- Money spent on gaming
- Weekday game time
- Offline community meeting attendance
- Game community membership
- Gaming motives play a role as well.
- Gamers with psychiatric distress use it a coping strategy to improve their mood and/or attain emotional stability.
- Achievement-related motives may be related to the lack of real-life achievements that are compensated by virtual victories and successes.
Commonly Associated Conditions
- Anxiety disorder
- Mood disorder
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Personality disorder
- Behavioral disorder
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