Is Addiction To Video Games Tied To Depression, OCD, Anxiety, ADHD?


Men are more likely to become addicted to gaming, gambling and cyber-pornography, while women tend to get addicted to social media, texting, and online shopping, finds a new study.
(Photo : Eric Holsinger | Flickr)

Video game addiction has been associated with depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a new study.

The study carried out by the University of Bergen, Norway, suggests that the need to play video games acts as a defense mechanism again these psychiatric disorders when left untreated.

“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.” explained lead author Cecilie Shou Andreassen, doctor of psychology and clinical psychologist specialist at Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen.

The study also brings to light that videogame addiction seemed to be more prevalent in young, single men as compared to older, married men. Further, it was also found that there were key gender differences in the sense that while men were more inclined towards getting addicted to gambling, online gaming and cyber pornography, women on the other hand, were more prone to texting, social media and online shopping.

For the purpose of the study, more than 23,500 Norwegian men and women, in the age group of 16 to 88 years were given a questionnaire to fill. Varied information were gathered from the respondents, with regards to their social media and video gaming usage and experience, encountered over the past six months.

The participants were asked to score themselves on a scale of “never” to “very often” on key statements such as, “You think about playing a game all day long”, “You spend increasing amounts of time on games”, “You play games to forget about real life”, “You neglect other important activities to play games”, “Others have unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use”, “You have fights with others over your time spent on games”, “You feel bad when you are unable to play”.

The participants, who rated themselves high for at least four out of the seven statements, were linked to a compromised or negative lifestyle in terms of social life, health, school or work.

The authors of the study believe that the new information and knowledge garnered from this, can prove to be helpful for parents and clinicians to prevent and control the addictive use of technology even before it begins to take shape.

The study is published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors of the American Psychological Association.

Photo: Eric Holsinger | Flickr