(REMISSION) Virtual reality therapy for internet gaming disorder (2014)

Alcohol Alcohol. 2014 Sep;49 Suppl 1:i19. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agu052.88.

Kim SM, Han DH.



Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have demonstrated dysfunction in the cortico-limbic circuit in individuals with Internet gaming disorder (IGD). We hypothesized that virtual reality therapy (VRT) for IGD would improve the functional connectivity of the cortico-limbic circuit.


In the Chung-Ang University Hospital, 24 adults with IGD and 12 casual game users were recruited. IGD group was randomly assigned into the cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) group (N = 12) and VRT group (N = 12). The severity of IGD was evaluated with the Young’s Internet Addiction Scale (YIAS) before and after the treatment period. Using resting-state fMRI, functional connectivity from posterior cingulate (PCC) seed to other brain areas was investigated.


During the treatment period, both CBT and VRT groups showed significant reductions on the YIAS scores. At baseline, IGD group showed a reduced connectivity in cortico-striatal-limbic circuit. In the CBT group, the connectivity from PCC seed to bilateral lenticular nucleus and cerebellum increased during 8-session CBT. In the VRT group, the connectivity from PCC seed to left thalamus-frontal lobe-cerebellum increased during 8-session VRT.


Treatment of IGD using VRT seemed to improve the severity of IGD, which showed similar effectiveness to CBT, and enhance the balance of the cortico-striatal-limbic circuit.

© The Author 2014. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.