Latest developments in causes and treatments



Online Gaming Addiction

gaming device

Online gaming seems like an innocent pastime. People of all ages — but especially young men — are attracted to submerging into a walled-off gaming environment and forgetting their troubles for a few minutes.

Online gaming can become a problem, however, when it is used to displace stressful situations. Rather than working to remove the source of the stress, which often centers around school, family or work, online gamers can get caught up in a cycle of withdrawing from the world in a way that’s not good for their health.

Even one video gaming session per day is associated with an increase in food intake, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Gaming becomes a cue for eating, whether hungry or not. “Gaming has also been associated with sleep deprivation, insomnia and circadian rhythm disorders, depression, aggression, and anxiety,” says Dr. Peter Grinspoon in an article for Harvard Medical School.

A recent study from the National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in India showed teenagers surveyed turned to online gaming during “tough situations.” Dr. Manoj Sharma, author of the research paper, told India News Express:

Online gaming is frequently used as a coping mechanism, an avoidant, escapist strategy, which can lead to problematic or excessive gaming, with harmful outcomes and poor mental health.

Surprisingly, there is very little research on treatments for online gaming addiction. As recently as six months ago, a study in Cureus for the National Institute of Health reported at length on the problem with almost no research on relief. The BrainWeighve model of behavioral modification currently in trials at UCLA would suggest a program of gradually restricting access to gaming. We look forward to reporting on any studies brought to our attention.

Written by Steve O’Keefe. Published November 21, 2023.


“Video game playing increases food intake in adolescents,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2011.

“The health effects of too much gaming,” by Peter Grinspoon, M.D., Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, December 2020.

“Online gaming addictive,” The New Indian Express, October 2023.

“Symptoms, Mechanisms, and Treatments of Video Game Addiction,” Cureus, March 2023.

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