Video game and internet addiction. The current state of research (2013)

Nervenarzt. 2013 May;84(5):569-75. doi: 10.1007/s00115-012-3721-4.

[Article in German]


The use of interactive screen media is widespread and for some users leads to pathological symptoms that are phenomenologically similar to signs of addictive disorders. Addictive use of computer games and other Internet applications, such as social media can be distinguished. In the past standard criteria to classify this new disorder were lacking. In DSM-5, nine criteria are proposed for diagnosing Internet gaming disorder. The focus is currently on video games as most studies have been done in this field.

Prevalence estimations are difficult to interpret due to the lack of standard diagnostic measures and result in a range of the frequency of Internet addiction between 1 % and 4.2 % in the general German population. Rates are higher in younger individuals.

For computer game addiction prevalence rates between 0.9 % and 1.7  % can be found in adolescents. Despite substantial comorbidity among those affected current research points to addictive media use as a stand-alone disorder.