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Video Gaming as Addictive as Alcohol, Gambling: Study

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  December 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM Health Watch   - G J E 4
These days video games are everywhere. They are not just loaded on computers, but you will find them on iPads, smartphones, television and other modern gadgets. Though they could be good learning tools at most times, it is easy to get hooked on or addicted to them. An Australian study has confirmed that video gaming may be just as addictive as gambling or alcohol.
Video Gaming as Addictive as Alcohol, Gambling: Study

According to Olivia Metcalf, a research scholar at the Australian National University, Canberra, those who excessively played video games were unable to stop thinking about them, even while doing other tasks. This "attentional bias" is a phenomenon usually found in those who do drugs, alcohol or gambling.

Ms Metcalf says that this does not happen because an activity is repeated. The addiction is due to changes that occur in your attention system, in your brain, when an addiction is developing.

A lot of people indulge in video gaming excessively, but no one is sure as to the nature of the underlying problem. Understanding the problem is the first step to developing treatment and therapies for addicted individuals, to try and sort out their issues.

Ms Metcalf points out that only a small percentage of individuals who game excessively suffer negative consequences such as inability to focus on their work and school activities, difficulty falling asleep, neglecting their diet and develop an inability to stop gaming.

Ms Metcalf also claims that her research is the first of its kind to provide scientific evidence that video gaming can indeed be addictive.

She says the intent of the research is not to ban gaming but to help those who are addicted to gaming and to ensure that it just remains a fun experience.

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