ADHD, OCD, And Depression Linked To Video Game Addiction

Healthy Living

June 8, 2016

Understanding The Difference Between Addiction And A Habit

In years past when you heard the word addiction your thoughts would automatically go to drugs or alcohol, but today through research studies we know that addiction is much further reaching. It is not just psychoactive ingredients such as drugs, alcohol, or nicotine that can alter the chemical balance of the brain temporarily, we now know that the psychological dependency of addiction to sex, gambling, exercise, work, and internet can cause the same chemical changes in the brain inducing feelings of shame, guilt, hopelessness, depression and even a form of withdrawal, just as drugs and alcohol do.

For many people, using drugs, alcohol, or tobacco may not necessarily lead to addiction. But, for others the ability to have control over how they use substances is something they can’t control, and they become dependent physically and psychologically and hence require substances to cope with the day to day trials and tribulations of life. A habit is something one can show a measure of control, but an addicted person is no longer in control of their choices.

What We Can Learn About Who Is At High Risk For Video Game Addiction

Recent studies over the last decade have shown that “addictive technological behaviors” is substantially increasing particularly among users of social media and on and offline video games. The recent study also established a correlation between video game addiction in younger and single men than other males and may also be linked to being used as an escape mechanism for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression according to Cecilie Schou Andreassen, doctor of psychology and clinical psychologist specialist at the Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen (UIB). “Excessively engaging in gaming may function as an escape mechanism for, or coping with, underlying psychiatric disorders in attempt to alleviate unpleasant feelings, and to calm restless bodies”, Doctor Andreassen says.

The study was released in the publication journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, of the American Psychological Association. In the study Doctor Andreassen conducted the research of more than 20,000 subject participants who answered a series of questions related to their video game and online internet usage. The doctor concluded that the study showed clear evidence as to the tendency of certain demographics being at higher risk of developing an addiction to social media or video gaming. Younger males it seems are more apt to become addicted to cyber pornography, gambling and online games while females are more prone to online shopping, texting and social media. The median age of the study participants was 35.8 years old, but test subjects ranged in age from 16 to 88 years of age, who participated in social media or video games, and had ADHD, OCD, or anxiety and depression.

The results of the studies can be utilized in preventing unhealthy technology use among certain at risk groups, in particular those who suffer from ADHD, OCD, and depression. The study utilized seven warning signs of possible video game addiction behaviors on a scale of “never” to “very often” of the following indicators to make their conclusions:

  • You obsess about playing the game throughout the day and night.
  • The amount of time you spend playing the game is increasing in frequency and or duration.
  • You play video games to escape your real life.
  • Family or significant others have tried unsuccessfully to get you to reduce the amount of time you spend playing video games.
  • You feel distress or frustration when unable to play your video game(s).
  • You neglect family or friends in order to play video games.
  • You have arguments with family or friends regarding your video game usage.
  • You do not meet your responsibilities at work, school or sports activities in order to play the video game(s).

If you find four of the seven indicators describe you it is likely that you have an addiction to video gaming or social media. The same indicators could be used in determining addiction to pornography, or gambling. There is treatment for “technological” addictions, consult your nearest mental health professional.