What is digital and gaming addiction?

Digital and gaming addiction, also known as internet gaming disorder or gaming disorder, is a psychological condition characterized by excessive and compulsive use of digital devices or video games, leading to negative consequences in various areas of an individual’s life. In contrast to the popular belief that addiction can only be caused by substances like drugs, tobacco, or alcohol, a substantial amount of research has revealed that the addiction can be of behavioural type too.

Types of Addiction

Behavioural addiction is when the patient becomes addicted to a particular behaviour like

  • Gambling and casino addiction
  • spending too much time on internet or screen addiction
  • Video game addiction
  • Overeating and shopping addiction
  • social networking site addiction
  • OTT platform addiction

The difference between behavioural addictions and drug addiction is that the person with behavioural addictions is not hooked to a substance, but rather to the behaviour or the sensation that results from acting out the behaviour.

Internet addiction disorder

Internet addiction or dependence on the Internet can described as excessive computer use that interferes with daily life and disrupts your regular routine. The immediate stimulation offered by all the flickering pictures present on the internet, which triggers the production of dopamine (a neurotransmitter essential to the brain’s reward system), is the primary cause of internet addiction.

As far as effects of internet addiction are concerned internet addiction has significant effects on the social, psychological and occupational well-being of the individual. Internet addiction can also be linked with existing mental health issues, most commonly depression.

The diagnosis of Internet Gaming Disorder is now included in the DSM-5 and ICD 11, as online video games are now widely believed to be activities that may be linked to addictive behaviour. However, there is still debate about some specific features of the disorder, one of which is the amount of time spent playing games.

Internet gaming disorder

Internet gaming disorders have been proposed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as a tentative psychiatric disorder that needs further research (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)). Internet gaming disorders are defined by continuous and repeated involvement with video games, which frequently causes significant daily, work, and educational disruptions.

In the most recent fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the American Psychiatric Association (APA) acknowledged internet gaming disorder as a transitory disease. Because of the disturbance caused by this online game, several cases are currently being reported across a range of age groups. Addiction to online gaming is a widespread disorder that frequently coexists with social anxiety, aggression, and depression.

According to research, when people are immersed in play on the digital media, some brain pathways are activated in a direct and intense manner similar to how the brains of drug addicts (amphetamines) are impacted by certain substances. This game promotes brain activity that influences sensations of pleasure and, in severe cases, can lead to addictive behaviour.

Effects of Internet Gaming Disorder

  • Research has revealed that online gaming addiction “impairs grey and white matter integrity in the orbitofrontal cortex of the prefrontal regions of the brain”.
  • Our capacity for planning, prioritising, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing our attention are all significantly impacted by the orbitofrontal cortex.
  • As a result, these online gaming addicts are incapable of prioritizing their life or setting a goal and accomplishing it because of the impairment of their orbitofrontal cortex.

Symptoms of Internet Gaming Disorder

The DSM-5 states that Internet Gaming Disorder is indicated by at least five of the nine core symptoms being present during a 12-month period. More specifically, the nine clinical symptoms listed below are part of the diagnostic criteria for internet gaming disorder:

  1. (1) Videogame obsession (or “preoccupation”)
  2. (2) Feeling uncomfortable while playing video games (i.e., “withdrawal”)
  3. (3) Spend more time playing video games (i.e., “tolerance”)
  4. (4) Failing to maintain control over participation in videogames (i.e., “lose control”)
  5. (5) Losing interest in previous hobbies and forms of entertainment as a result of, and aside from, playing videogames (i.e., “surrender from other activities”)
  6. (6) Continuing to play video games despite being aware of psychological issues (also known as “continuation”)
  7. (7) Lying to family members, therapists, or other people about how many video games they own (also known as “fraud”).
  8. (8) Damaging or losing relationships, employment, education, or key career possibilities as a result of playing videogames (i.e., “negative consequences”)
  9. (9) utilizing video games to escape or erase bad sensations.

Complications of Video Game Addiction

People with this condition jeopardise their ability to perform academically or at work as they are spending much of their time playing video games. The essential feature of this disorder is the presence of general and persistent anxiety, which is not restricted to or only prominent in any specific environmental condition. It is also sometimes called as “unanchored anxiety”. They will go through one of the most typical symptoms, which includes uncontrollable withdrawal, worry, and anxiety as well as bodily symptoms including muscle tightness, irritability, problems sleeping, and anxiousness. It lasts for at least six months.

Treatment for Digital addiction can be done through Behavioural therapies like “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy” and psychotherapies. Many such treatments are available at Tulasi Healthcare for combating Digital addictions and Behavioural addictions. Treatment is provided through skilled psychologists who are efficient in talk therapy and psychotherapy through which they are able to cure all such forms of digital addiction such as internet, social networking and video game addiction. For further information, you may contact Tulasi Healthcare at 8800000255 or mail us at [email protected]