Study: Videogame Addiction Leads to Depression

Greg Tito

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Study: Videogame Addiction Leads to Depression



It's not the chicken and the egg after all: study shows that playing games "pathologically" leads to feeling bad and not the other way around.

A study conducted by Iowa State University psychologist Douglas A. Gentile suggests that kids that are addicted to games, called "pathological" by the study, are more prone to disorders such as depression. A sample of 3,034 kids aged 8 to 13 from the island nation of Singapore were asked survey questions every year from 2007 to 2009. Gentile's team surmised a link between game-playing and depression and his paper establishing that progression will appear in an upcoming issue of the psych journal Pediatrics.

"What we've known from other studies is that videogaming addiction looks similar to other addictions. But what wasn't clear was what comes before what. Gaming might be a secondary problem. It might be that kids who are socially awkward, who aren't doing well in school, get depressed and then lose themselves into games. We haven't really known if gaming is important by itself, or what puts kids at risk for becoming addicted," said Gentile.

Unfortunately for us gamers, the results of the study point to pathological gaming as increasing the chances of psychological disorders. "We found that in kids who started gaming pathologically, depression and anxiety got worse. And, when they stopped gaming, the depression lifted. It may be that these disorders [co-exist], but games seem to make the problem worse."

The important distinction of this study is that "the gaming precedes the depression. We don't know if it's truly causal, but gaming has an effect on its own, and you can't just ignore gaming and treat depression," he said.

Thankfully, Gentile was quick to point out that playing a lot of games doesn't necessarily equate to depression, but that other indicators might point to a problem. "A lot of videogaming isn't the same as an addiction. Some kids can play a lot without having an effect on their lives. It's when you see other areas of your child's life suffer that it may be addiction. Parents might notice that a child doesn't have the same friends any more, or that he's just sitting in his room playing video games all the time. Or, there might be a drop in school performance," he said.

What do you guys think? Have you noticed increased feelings of depression or anxiety when you play a lot of games? Could these be linked?

Source: U.S. News [http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/01/17/video-game-addiction-tied-to-depression-anxiety-in-kids]

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Woodsey

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Aug 9, 2009
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I'm pretty sure that "game addiction" isn't even officially recognised as an actual addiction.
 

thenumberthirteen

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Dec 19, 2007
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Well I think my occasional depressive feelings stem form other issues, but then I'm not "Addicted" to games.
 

Moeez

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Multifactorial. If you have a good social environment and nurturing, it's likely a lot of videogaming might not affect you as much.

Depression is a problem-solving exercise. In evolutionary terms, it makes sense. You tackle the issue head-on, you can solve it.

Gaming is escapism. Escaping from the problem won't help it go away. It might make you happy temporarily, but it's no cure for your depression.

Cliche as it is, it's all about moderation. Pace yourself. Escaping from RL is no solution.
 

TheRightToArmBears

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Woodsey said:
I'm pretty sure that "game addiction" isn't even officially recognised as an actual addiction.
I'm sure it's possible though, people can get a dependency on all sorts of things.

It's nice that he says that not all gaming equates to an addiction or depression, yet I fear that if this reaches tabloids that willl be forgotten.
 

moretimethansense

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Woodsey said:
I'm pretty sure that "game addiction" isn't even officially recognised as an actual addiction.
Why is it that whenever game adiction is mentioned somebody says something to this effect?

I guess there's no such thing as a gambleing addiction either then!
 

SantoUno

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I only get depressed from playing games because it feels like I just wasted my time.

I still have fun though.
 

Loonerinoes

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Cue 101 anxious and angry replies of how "NO! This is totally not true!" :p

Honestly, it greatly depends on how the person handling it treats that time spent in front of the computer. If they treat excessive videogaming as "One of the few things they're good at" or "One of the few things that make me happy" - then they're in trouble and you can expect anxiety and depression to soon follow suit.

However, if long stretches of playing are treated casually in the sense of "Woah...yeah, that was a big bender." or as in "Phew...well, I sure gamed enough for this week after the past 12 hours straight." then no - it won't lead to either anxiety or depression.

Some personality types find it easier to handle videogaming in the former style and others find it easier to handle it in the latter. *shrug* Not much else to it, except that I doubt most people are drawn to the virtual world moreso than the real one, even if the real one happens to be shit for them. I mean sure, we probably know and hear only of geeks and so we somehow percieve gaming to be 'viral' and 'extremely popular'. But for every one of us, there's at least 10 people who say "Nah - don't need no videogames to make myself feel better." and instead prefer things like say...alcohol. :p
 

Virgil

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Another article [http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/113854829.html] about this same study includes an additional bit of text: "The authors of the study, which was published in the American journal Pediatrics, say the finding requires more research. They doubt a cause-effect relationship between gaming addiction and depression. More likely the disorders are related in some unknown way, they wrote."

I suspect it would be hard to draw any significant conclusions without seeing the actual study, but I doubt that there's as direct a link in the study as is being implied in the media. The fact that excessive anything and depression are linked should be totally unsurprising though, whether that is eating, gaming, sleeping, or the writing of bad poetry.
 

Woodsey

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moretimethansense said:
Woodsey said:
I'm pretty sure that "game addiction" isn't even officially recognised as an actual addiction.
Why is it that whenever game adiction is mentioned somebody says something to this effect?

I guess there's no such thing as a gambleing addiction either then!
Because there's a proper board or whatever that officially recognises addictions - that's why I used the words "officially recognised". I find that generally it helps if I have the ability to read before replying to someone's comment.

You could be addicted to all 6 seasons of Lost over and over but that doesn't make it big enough of an issue to devote so much research and shit into. You might spend as much time as possible reading and never leaving the house - addicted? Perhaps. Recognised as an addiction? No.

See what I'm getting at? Virtually everything has the potential to be addictive, doesn't mean they're all scientifically recognised as addictions.
 

Nurb

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Dec 9, 2008
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I figured any addiction causes depression at some point. Alcoholism causes depression chemicly, gambling addiction causes depression when knowing they're going through a lot of money, so gaming addiction would probably work the same way I guess... a person playing because he "has to" and is miserable instead of just wanting to and enjoy it

SantoUno said:
I only get depressed from playing games because it feels like I just wasted my time.

I still have fun though.
 

Valagetti

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Aug 20, 2010
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I play games partly as escapism from reality or to, vent anger. I dunno what will happen if go a week without gaming. I'll just fill the time with more meaningfull stuff.
 

BehattedWanderer

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Well, I have noticed that accomplishing something challenging in a game can be more rewarding than some of what I do in life, but I thought that was rather the point--the more rewarding, the more you want to play. Unraveling the complexities of a story, or overcoming a complex session of platforming, or leading your team to victory all have explicitly rewarding feelings of both denouement and catharsis, and its occasionally hard to match that in life. We already know the feeling of passing a test, but the feeling of learning something new is invigorating and refreshing. Does this lead to depression? Well, it certainly could, I suppose. Perfectly logical.
 

Kalahee

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Pathological addiction to video games lead to depression?
I'm sure going to a bar get drunk every night and no one talks to you or you don't talk to any body would make you depressed and it's probably the beer fault (other than occassional misbehavoirs you may have done that brought peoples to ignore you).

Actually, I'm sure it's the missing part from a game addiction that cause the problem. May you drink only, you'll lack of food eventually. So if you have no actual social life whatsoever, virtual might just slowdown the process, but anonymous makes much more peoples be less concerned about your welfare than actual friends in real life, certainly won't help out not getting depressed.

At best, I play when I'm bored, but mostly when I can voice chat with good friends and my girlfriend while playing cooperative games.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Tripe.

For a start, let's have a little look at exactly how much info we have.

8-13 : Well...not much chance of background stress there, while going through puberty.
Singapore? So totally relevant to US, UK and Australia then - as there's no difference in diet, workload etc.
Depression? Well, that's a HUGE mental classification, that hasn't actually been classified.

And if, as Gentile says, playing games isn't the same as addiction, why are you saying that gaming addiction causes depression.

That's sort of like saying drinking water leads to alcohol use in later life, because kids who have drunk water have gone on to drink alcohol.

Correlation is there. Causation is simply not proven by a series of questions about games - or depression.

So, cut/scissors/paste again

"the gaming
Unspecified
Unspecified, as the child may have been depressed by other things (Let me see...what has gone wrong in Singapore between 2007-2009, well, there's the sharp increase in casinos brought in in 2005? The Tsunami in 2004...7% Tax increase in 2007)
the depression.
Unspecified ?illness?
We don't know if it's truly causal,
So it failed a significant test - the basis of most statistics.
but gaming has an effect on its own
Unqualified and meaningless
, and you can't just ignore gaming
Why not?
and treat depression
And depression can't be treated.

So...when kids from a land where nearly half are non-residents are taken away from a peer-group, like gaming, their symptoms of being pressured disappear...I think you could do that with nearly any entertainment at that age.

If you'd let me off playing football between 8-13, my symptoms of exhaustion, paranoia and bruising would have decreased, but that doesn't mean there's a correlation between football and self-harm. It means there's a whole team of guys in footie boots who don't want me stopping them scoring.
 
Aug 25, 2009
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Maybe it's different because I was never addicted to videogames, but I've been gaming heavily since I was eight. When I was diagnosed with Manic Depression later in life I realised that playing games helped me. It was cathertic and allowed me to release some of the stress and tension of life, and gave me a tangible sense of achievement which helped to counterbalance a life I felt was inceasingly without achievement.
 

moretimethansense

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Woodsey said:
moretimethansense said:
Woodsey said:
I'm pretty sure that "game addiction" isn't even officially recognised as an actual addiction.
Why is it that whenever game adiction is mentioned somebody says something to this effect?

I guess there's no such thing as a gambleing addiction either then!
Because there's a proper board or whatever that officially recognises addictions - that's why I used the words "officially recognised". I find that generally it helps if I have the ability to read before replying to someone's comment.

You could be addicted to all 6 seasons of Lost over and over but that doesn't make it big enough of an issue to devote so much research and shit into. You might spend as much time as possible reading and never leaving the house - addicted? Perhaps. Recognised as an addiction? No.

See what I'm getting at? Virtually everything has the potential to be addictive, doesn't mean they're all scientifically recognised as addictions.
I did read it, I was making a comment on the inevitable sleugh of "It's not an addiction comments".

Perhaps it's not officially recognized but that doesn't change the fact that many people simply can't stop.

Having said that I think the above study may just be bullshit, sure if your addiction is causing problems in your life you might get depressed, but how many spend so long on games without being depressed or otherwise unfulfilled in the first place?