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Authors: Doug Hyun Han, Minkyoung Yoo, Perry F. Renshaw and Nancy M. Petry

Background and aims

Although Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is included as a condition in the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, little is known about its nature or treatment response. This study is a follow-up of 755 patients who received professional treatment for IGD over a 5-year period.

Methods

The initial recommended treatment course lasted for 8 weeks, with additional care provided as needed. Treatment completion rates in the complete sample, as well as baseline predictors of treatment completion and long-term recovery among the 367 patients who completed the follow-up, are reported.

Results

Nearly two thirds of patients who initiated treatment for IGD completed the 8-week psychotherapy. Of these, about two thirds who had not recovered completely by the end were offered additional care. Independent predictors of extended treatment were higher baseline scores on the Young Internet Addiction Scale, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Korean-Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-Rating Scale (K-ADHD-RS). Between 1 and 5 years later, 33.5% of the complete sample was considered as recovered from IGD. Significant predictors of recovery from IGD were older age, earlier admission to the clinic, lower baseline scores on the BDI and K-ADHD-RS, and no offer of extended treatment.

Discussion and conclusions

The majority of the patients seeking treatment for IGD continued experiencing difficulties and randomized controlled trials of interventions, which are needed to be conducted to improve outcomes. Age, family, social factors, and psychological symptoms should be considered, while designing and evaluating interventions, because they impact initial and sustained response to treatment for IGD.

Open access
Authors: Sun Mi Kim, Doug Hyun Han, Young Sik Lee, Jieun E. Kim and Perry F. Renshaw

Abstract

Background and aims: Several studies have suggested that addictive disorders including substance abuse and pathologic gambling might be associated with dysfunction on working memory and prefrontal activity. We hypothesized that excessive online game playing is associated with deficits in prefrontal cortex function and that recovery from excessive online game playing might improve prefrontal cortical activation in response to working memory stimulation. Methods: Thirteen adolescents with excessive online game playing (AEOP) and ten healthy adolescents (HC) agreed to participate in this study. The severity of online game play and playing time were evaluated for a baseline measurement and again following four weeks of treatment. Brain activation in response to working memory tasks (simple and complex calculations) at baseline and subsequent measurements was assessed using BOLD functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Results: Compared to the HC subjects, the AEOP participants exhibited significantly greater activity in the right middle occipital gyrus, left cerebellum posterior lobe, left premotor cortex and left middle temporal gyrus in response to working memory tasks during baseline measurements. After four weeks of treatment, the AEOP subjects showed increased activity within the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and left occipital fusiform gyrus. After four weeks of treatment, changes in the severity of online game playing were negatively correlated with changes in the mean β value of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in response to complex stimulation. Conclusions: We suggest that the effects of online game addiction on working memory may be similar to those observed in patients with substance dependence.

Restricted access

Background and aims

Given the similarities in clinical symptoms, Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is thought to be diagnostically similar to Internet-based gambling disorder (ibGD). However, cognitive enhancement and educational use of Internet gaming suggest that the two disorders derive from different neurobiological mechanisms. The goal of this study was to compare subjects with ibGD to those with IGD.

Methods

Fifteen patients with IGD, 14 patients with ibGD, and 15 healthy control subjects were included in this study. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data for all participants were acquired using a 3.0 Tesla MRI scanner (Philips, Eindhoven, The Netherlands). Seed-based analyses, the three brain networks of default mode, cognitive control, and reward circuitry, were performed.

Results

Both IGD and ibGD groups demonstrated decreased functional connectivity (FC) within the default-mode network (DMN) (family-wise error p < .001) compared with healthy control subjects. However, the IGD group demonstrated increased FC within the cognitive network compared with both the ibGD (p < .01) and healthy control groups (p < .01). In contrast, the ibGD group demonstrated increased FC within the reward circuitry compared with both IGD (p < .01) and healthy control subjects (p < .01).

Discussion and conclusions

The IGD and ibGD groups shared the characteristic of decreased FC in the DMN. However, the IGD group demonstrated increased FC within the cognitive network compared with both ibGD and healthy comparison groups.

Open access