March 01, 2022

Study Shows Promise for Gaming and Internet Addiction

We all know someone who plays video games all weekend once they leave work, or someone who is permanently stuck gawking at their mobile phone as they browse social media – but good news, there is help for these addicted souls.

The World Health Organisation has recognised these growing behaviours and labelled them as addictions because of their overall “negative impact on daily activities”.

Last month, a trio of scientists from the Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany published a study which found that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has a high rate of treating such obsessive disorders.

The researchers gathered 422 students from 33 different schools – between the ages of 12 and 18, – who showed the symptoms of developing full-blown addiction to gaming or internet usage. They were split into two groups: 225 for control with no therapy, and the remaining 167 were subjected to the professional use of technical media (PROTECT) intervention method.

The PROTECT therapy works by addressing negative thought patterns and altering how patients deal with boredom and anxiety. This group met with two psychologists during school hours to engage in 90-minute CBT sessions.

The groups were revisited after 12 months: the results reported from the first group showed “significant symptom reduction”. But the results were more significant – nearly 40% – in the PROTECT group, which is a huge finding on its own.

However, it must be pointed out that this is only one study, with fewer subjects than what was aimed for, and the nature of the disorders means only those who are aware of them would seek help.

Nevertheless, this research provides a launchpad for related studies with more resources, and greater test populations for more accurate results.