Videogame Addiction and its Treatment

Abstract

For many, the concept of videogame addiction seems far-fetched, particularly if their concepts and definitions of addiction involve the taking of drugs. This paper overviews the small, but growing area of videogame addiction and then examines the treatment options available for those affected by excessive videogame playing. An overview of the available empirical literature appears to indicate that adverse effects are likely to affect only a relatively small subgroup of players and that frequent players are the most at-risk for developing problems. Worldwide, there are relatively few practitioners that specialise in the treatment of videogame addiction and this may be because there are so few players who are genuinely addicted to playing videogames. However, the Internet may be facilitating excessive online game playing as evidenced by the increasing number of specialist addiction treatment clinics for online videogame addiction. This paper overviews the various approaches that have been used as an intervention in treating videogame addicts, including online support groups, 12-step programmes, behavioural and cognitive-behavioural therapies, and motivational interviewing.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Allison, S. E., von Wahlde, L., Shockley, T., & Gabbard, G. O. (2006). The development of the self in the era of the internet and role-playing fantasy games. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 381–385. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.163.3.381.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Brasington, R. (1990). Nintendinitis. The New England Journal of Medicine, 322, 1473–1474.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Casanova, J., & Casanova, J. (1991). Nintendinitis. The Journal of Hand Surgery, 16, 181.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Chappell, D., Eatough, V. E., Davies, M. N. O., & Griffiths, M. D. (2006). EverQuest—It’s just a computer game right? An interpretative phenomenological analysis of online gaming addiction. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 4, 205–216. doi:10.1007/s11469-006-9028-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Cleary, A. G., Mckendrick, H., & Sills, J. A. (2002). Hand-arm vibration syndrome may be associated with prolonged use of vibrating computer games. British Medical Journal, 324, 301. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7332.301a.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Cole, H., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Social interactions in massively multiplayer online role-playing gamers. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10, 575–583. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.9988.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Corkery, J. C. (1990). Nintendo power. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 144, 959.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. De Freitas, S., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Online gaming as an educational tool in learning and training. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38, 536–538.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Egli, E. A., & Meyers, L. S. (1984). The role of video game playing in adolescent life: Is there a reason to be concerned? Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 22, 309–312.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Fisher, S. E. (1994). Identifying video game addiction in children and adolescents. Addictive Behaviors, 19, 545–553. doi:10.1016/0306-4603(94)90010-8.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Friedland, R. P., & St. John, J. N. (1984). Video-game palsy: Distal ulnar neuropathy in a video game enthusiast. The New England Journal of Medicine, 311, 58–59.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Griffiths, M. D. (1991). Amusement machine playing in childhood and adolescence: A comparative analysis of video games and fruit machines. Journal of Adolescence, 14, 53–73. doi:10.1016/0140-1971(91)90045-S.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Griffiths, M.D. (1997). Computer game playing in early adolescence. Youth and Society, 29, 223–237.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Griffiths, M. D. (2000). Does internet and computer “addiction” exist? Some case study evidence. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 3, 211–218. doi:10.1089/109493100316067.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Griffiths, M. D. (2002a). The educational benefits of videogames. Education and Health, 20, 47–51.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Griffiths, M. D. (2002b). Gambling and gaming addictions in adolescence. Leicester: British Psychological Society/Blackwells.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Griffiths, M. D. (2003). Videogames: Advice for teachers and parents. Education and Health, 21, 48–49.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Griffiths, M.D. (2003a). The therapeutic use of videogames in childhood and adolescence. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 8, 547–554.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Griffiths, M.D. (2003b). Videogames: Advice for teachers and parents. Education and Health, 21, 48–49.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Griffiths, M. D. (2005a). Video games and health. British Medical Journal, 331, 122–123. doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7509.122.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Griffiths, M. D. (2005b). The therapeutic value of videogames. In J. Goldstein & J. Raessens (Eds.), Handbook of computer game studies (pp. 161–171). Boston: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Griffiths, M. D. (2005c). Online therapy for addictive behaviors. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 8, 555–561. doi:10.1089/cpb.2005.8.555.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Griffiths, M. D. (2005d). A “components” model of addiction within a biopsychosocial framework. Journal of Substance Use, 10, 191–197. doi:10.1080/14659890500114359.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Griffiths, M. D. (2005e). The relationship between gambling and videogame playing: A response to Johansson and Gotestam. Psychological Reports, 96, 644–646. doi:10.2466/PR0.96.3.644-646.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Online gaming addictions: Legislation or moderation? E-commerce. Law & Policy, 6(9), 10–11.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Griffiths, M. D. (2008). Internet and video-game addiction. In C. Essau (Ed.), Adolescent addiction: Epidemiology, assessment and treatment (pp. 231–267). San Diego: Elselvier.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Griffiths, M. D. (2009a). The use of online methodologies in data collection for gambling and gaming addictions. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. doi: 10.1007/s11469-009-9209-1.

  28. Griffiths, M. D. (2009b). Online computer gaming: Advice for parents and teachers. Education and Health, 27, 3–6.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Griffiths, M. D., & Cooper, G. (2003). Online therapy: Implications for problem gamblers and clinicians. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 13, 113–135. doi:10.1080/0306988031000086206.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Griffiths, M. D., Davies, M. N. O., & Chappell, D. (2003). Breaking the stereotype: The case of online gaming. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 6, 81–91. doi:10.1089/109493103321167992.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Griffiths, M. D., Davies, M. N. O., & Chappell, D. (2004a). Demographic factors and playing variables in online computer gaming. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 7, 479–487. doi:10.1089/cpb.2004.7.479.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Griffiths, M. D., Davies, M. N. O., & Chappell, D. (2004b). Online computer gaming: A comparison of adolescent and adult gamers. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 87–96. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2003.10.007.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Griffiths, M. D., & Hunt, N. (1995). Computer game playing in adolescence: Prevelance and demographic indicators. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 5, 189–193. doi:10.1002/casp.2450050307.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Griffiths, M. D., & Hunt, N. (1998). Dependence on computer games by adolescents. Psychological Reports, 82, 475–480. doi:10.2466/PR0.82.2.475-480.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Grüsser, S. M., Thalemann, R., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Excessive computer game playing: Evidence for addiction and aggression? Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10, 290–292. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9956.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Hussain, Z., & Griffiths, M. D. (2008). Gender swapping and socialising in cyberspace: An exploratory study. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 11, 47–53. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.0020.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Hussain, Z., & Griffiths, M. D. (2009). Excessive use of Massively multi-player online role-playing games: A pilot study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. Published in Online First: doi:10.1007/s11469-009-9202-8.

  38. Keepers, G. A. (1990). Pathologicical preoccupation with video games. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 29, 49–50. doi:10.1097/00004583-199001000-00009.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. King, D., Delfabbro, P. & Griffiths, M. D. (2009). The psychological study of video game players: Methodological challenges and practical advice. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. Published Online First: doi:10.1007/s11469-009-9198-0.

  40. Klein, M. H. (1984). The bite of Pac-man. The Journal of Psychohistory, 11, 395–401.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Kuczmierczyk, A. R., Walley, P. B., & Calhoun, K. S. (1987). Relaxation training, in vivo exposure and response-prevention in the treatment of compulsive video-game playing. Scandinavian Journal of Behaviour Therapy, 16, 185–190.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Loftus, G. A., & Loftus, E. F. (1983). Mind at play: The psychology of video games. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  43. McCowan, T. C. (1981). Space invaders wrist. The New England Journal of Medicine, 304, 1368.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  44. Miller, D. L. G. (1991). Nintendo neck. Canadian Medical Association Journal,145, 1202.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  45. Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (1991). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people to change addictive behavior. New York: Guildford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Mirman, M. J., & Bonian, V. G. (1992). “Mouse elbow”: A new repetitive stress injury. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 92, 701.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  47. Ng, B. D., & Weimer-Hastings, P. (2005). Addiction to the internet and online gaming. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 8, 110–113. doi:10.1089/cpb.2005.8.110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Orzack, M. H., Voluse, A. C., Wolf, D., & Hennen, J. (2006). An ongoing study of group treatment for men involved in problematic internet-enabled sexual behavior. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 9, 348–360. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9.348.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Phillips, C. A., Rolls, S., Rouse, A., & Griffiths, M. (1995). Home video game playing in schoolchildren: A study of incidence and patterns of play. Journal of Adolescence, 18, 687–691. doi:10.1006/jado.1995.1049.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Prochaska, J. O., & DiClemente, C. C. (1982). Transtheoretical therapy: Toward a more integrative model of change. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 19, 276–288.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Reinstein, L. (1983). de Quervain’s stenosing tenosynovitis in a video games player. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 64, 434–435.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  52. Rushton, D. N. (1981). “Space Invader” epilepsy. Lancet, 1, 501. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(81)91888-2.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  53. Schink, J. C. (1991). Nintendo enuresis. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 145, 1094.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  54. Shotton, M. (1989). Computer addiction?: A study of computer dependency. London: Taylor and Francis.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Siegal, I. M. (1991). Nintendonitis. Orthopedics, 14, 745.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Spence, S. A. (1993). Nintendo hallucinations: A new phenomenological entity. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 10, 98–99.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Tejeiro-Dalguero, R. A. T., & Moran, R. M. B. (2002). Measuring problem video game playing in adolescents. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 97, 1601–1606. doi:10.1046/j.1360-0443.2002.00218.x.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Wan, C., & Chiou, W. (2006a). Psychological motives and online games addiction: A test of flow theory and humanistic needs theory for Taiwanese adolescents. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 9, 317–324. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9.317.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Wan, C., & Chiou, B. (2006b). Why are adolescents addicted to online gaming? An interview study in Taiwan. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 9, 762–766. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9.762.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Wood, R. T. A., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Online guidance, advice, and support for problem gamblers and concerned relatives and friends: An evaluation of the gam-aid pilot service. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 35, 373–389. doi:10.1080/03069880701593540.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Wood, R. T. A., Griffiths, M. D., & Parke, A. (2007). Experience of time loss among video game players: An empirical study. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10, 38–44. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9994.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Young, K. S. (2007). Cogntive-behavioral therapy with internet addicts: Treatment outcomes and implications. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10, 671–679. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.9971.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mark D. Griffiths.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Griffiths, M.D., Meredith, A. Videogame Addiction and its Treatment. J Contemp Psychother 39, 247–253 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-009-9118-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Videogames
  • Addiction
  • Videogame addiction
  • Internet addiction
  • Treatment