With the introduction of the internet, addiction to video games has become increasingly problematic for many individuals. In extreme cases, some have died during extended periods of play. It is more common, however, for individuals who play excessively to struggle academically, socially, or occupationally.

Should video game addiction be recognized as a disorder? Due to limited research in the area, excessive gaming does not have a formal diagnosis. In order to address the problem, DSM-V has included “Internet Use Disorder” in a non-diagnostic category to promote further research. Although treatment  for video game addiction is lacking in evidence, a few studies have shown that a combination of motivational interviewing (MI), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and 12-step programs can reduce excessive gaming behaviors. Evaluation for depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other treatable conditions may also be helpful.

By Jack Shier, MD

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