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Abstract

Background

Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is included in the DSM-5 as a provisional diagnosis. Whether IGD should be regarded as a disorder and, if so, how it should be defined and thresholded have generated considerable debate.

Methods

In the current study, machine learning was used, based on regional and interregional brain features. Resting-state data from 374 subjects (including 148 IGD subjects with DSM-5 scores ≥5 and 93 IGD subjects with DSM-5 scores ≥6) were collected, and multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) was employed to classify IGD from recreational game use (RGU) subjects based on regional brain features (ReHo) and communication between brain regions (functional connectivity; FC). Permutation tests were used to assess classifier performance.

Results

The results demonstrated that when using DSM-5 scores ≥5 as the inclusion criteria for IGD subjects, MVPA could not differentiate IGD subjects from RGU, whether based on ReHo or FC features or by using different templates. MVPA could differentiate IGD subjects from RGU better than expected by chance when using DSM-5 scores ≥6 with both ReHo and FC features. The brain regions involved in the default mode network and executive control network and the cerebellum exhibited high discriminative power during classification.

Discussion

The current findings challenge the current IGD diagnostic criteria thresholding proposed in the DSM-5, suggesting that more stringent criteria may be needed for diagnosing IGD. The findings suggest that brain regions involved in the default mode network and executive control network relate importantly to the core criteria for IGD.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Xuefeng Ma
,
Min Wang
,
Weiran Zhou
,
Zhaojie Zhang
,
Haosen Ni
,
Anhang Jiang
,
Yanbin Zheng
,
Xiaoxia Du
,
Marc N. Potenza
, and
Guang-Heng Dong

Abstract

Background

Although internet gaming disorder (IGD) has been included in the DSM-5 for approximately 10 years, debate remains regarding its existence and classification.

Methods

The current research incorporated three approaches. First, implicit association tests were used to examine for potential dissociation between wanting and liking in IGD. Second, brain features in wanting and liking circuits were tested and compared with tobacco use disorder (TUD) when performing a cue-craving task to explore the neural features of wanting and liking. Third, dopaminergic systems were investigated in IGD and TUD using neuromelanin-sensitive MRI.

Results

The implicit association test results supported a wanting-liking dissociation in IGD participants. Functional MRI data suggested neural correlates underlying wanting-liking dissociation in IGD and TUD participants, with positive correlations suggesting greater dissociation with increasing addiction severity. Neuromelanin results suggest dopaminergic differences in IGD and TUD relative to healthy control participants.

Conclusions

A wanting-liking dissociation in IGD participants suggests gaming motivations in IGD relating to incentive sensitization rather than hedonic responses. The neuromelanin-sensitive MRI results suggest dopaminergic involvement in IGD and TUD. The findings suggest similar brain-behaviour mechanisms for IGD and TUD based on an incentive-sensitization model for addiction, having implications for potential therapeutic strategies and policy-based interventions.

Open access