A New Study Denies That Addiction To Video Games Is An Illness

For several months, the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies video game disorder as a mental illness. There are those who are against this position and consider that such a thing does not exist, as an example we have the University of Oxford, who recently published a study in which they claim to have found little evidence to indicate that gaming should be classified as such.

In addition, they point out that gaming addiction is due to external factors. According to study co-author and research director at the Oxford Internet Institute, Andrew Przybylski, previous studies have failed to examine the context of what happens around gaming addiction.

So, he decided to do a study that integrated the context of adolescents by applying motivational theory and open science principles to know if obsessive gaming is related to “psychological needs, satisfactions and frustrations.”

What was the result of this strategy? They found no evidence to suggest that an “unhealthy” relationship with gaming leads to behavioral problems, but that it relates this type of behavior to problems outside the world of video games. In other words, people with problems use gaming as a refuge and, therefore, should not be considered a disorder as such.

Our findings showed no evidence to suggest that an unhealthy relationship with gaming represents emotional, socialization and behavioral problems. Instead, variations in gaming experience are more likely to be related to (if they help meet) the basic psychological needs of adolescents of competence, autonomy and social belonging, and that they are experiencing other, more extensive functioning problems. Because of these discoveries, we believe there is not enough evidence to think of gaming as a clinical disorder.

Given these findings, Dr. Netta Weinstein, a professor at the School of Psychology at Cardiff University and co-author of the study, invited health professionals to analyze all the factors related to this problem such as “psychological satisfactions and frustrations daily” to understand why certain players relate to gaming in an unhealthy way.

A VICE report revealed details of a study conducted by German researchers who are seeking a treatment for Internet addiction and video games that was published in the scientific journal JAMA Psychiatry. According to the information, the project took up criteria and procedures used to treat web addiction and tried to give it an approach that also covered video game addiction.

The study was conducted with 143 men whose average age was 26 years and who have suffered Internet addiction, psychosocial functioning and depression. Half of these people underwent treatment, and this began with the analysis and care of withdrawal periods after not being able to connect to the network or play a video game.

Subsequently, the volunteers took part in informative sessions in which their illness was explained, the way it works and the effects they have on their health and their environment. Likewise, the team of researchers worked individually and in groups to learn about the factors that trigger this type of behavior, trying to teach volunteers to deal with emotions.

Then, in a third step, the medical-academic team worked to modify the characteristics that trigger an episode of anxiety to improve the ability of volunteers to react to events that cause them stress or that motivate compulsive behavior that leads them to want to consume Internet content or a video game.

Finally, the report refers that, during this study, it was not necessary for volunteers to consume any type of medication, opening the possibility that this alleged disorder is treated without psychiatric drugs.