Aust Fam Physician. 2016 Jan-Feb;45(1):48-52.
For most people, playing video games is a passionate leisure pursuit: a source of relaxation, fun, socialisation and culture. Moderate play has been associated with greater wellbeing and cognitive abilities in some studies. Yet, for a small subgroup, gaming can become excessive and problematic.
This article presents an overview of the world of video games and the recently proposed internet gaming disorder (IGD), as well as advice regarding relevant treatment approaches within primary care.
Similar to other addictive disorders (including problem gambling), IGD is characterised by excessive use despite negative consequences, with associated difficulties in reducing or stopping. Studies that have examined individuals with IGD have identified multiple harms, including lower psychosocial wellbeing, greater levels of psychopathology and diminished functioning. As yet, few studies have rigorously examined effective treatment options, but adapting psychological interventions used in the treatment of other addictions (eg motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy) that incorporate harm minimisation approaches, and addressing underlying issues and associated problems, are recommended.