A cohort study of patients seeking Internet gaming disorder treatment (2018)

J Behav Addict. 2018 Nov 12:1-6. doi: 10.1556/2006.7.2018.102.

Han DH1, Yoo M2, Renshaw PF3, Petry NM4.



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.


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.


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.


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.

KEYWORDS: Internet gaming disorder; family; psychological symptoms; social interaction; treatment outcomes

PMID: 30418074

DOI: 10.1556/2006.7.2018.102