Neurophysiological features of Internet gaming disorder and alcohol use disorder: a resting-state EEG study (2015)

Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Sep 1;5:e628. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.124.

Son KL1, Choi JS2,3, Lee J4, Park SM2, Lim JA2, Lee JY2, Kim SN1,3, Oh S5, Kim DJ6, Kwon JS1,3.


Despite that Internet gaming disorder (IGD) shares clinical, neuropsychological and personality characteristics with alcohol use disorder (AUD), little is known about the resting-state quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) patterns associated with IGD and AUD. Therefore, this study compared the QEEG patterns in patients with IGD with those in patients with AUD to identify unique neurophysiological characteristics that can be used as biomarkers of IGD.

A total of 76 subjects (34 with IGD, 17 with AUD and 25 healthy controls) participated in this study. Resting-state, eyes-closed QEEGs were recorded, and the absolute and relative power of brains were analyzed.

The generalized estimating equation showed that the IGD group had lower absolute beta power than AUD (estimate=5.319, P<0.01) and the healthy control group (estimate=2.612, P=0.01). The AUD group showed higher absolute delta power than IGD (estimate=7.516, P<0.01) and the healthy control group (estimate=7.179, P<0.01). We found no significant correlations between the severity of IGD and QEEG activities in patients with IGD. The current findings suggest that lower absolute beta power can be used as a potential trait marker of IGD. Higher absolute power in the delta band may be a susceptibility marker for AUD.

This study clarifies the unique characteristics of IGD as a behavioral addiction, which is distinct from AUD, by providing neurophysiological evidence.