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      Internet gaming addiction: current perspectives

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          Abstract

          In the 2000s, online games became popular, while studies of Internet gaming addiction emerged, outlining the negative consequences of excessive gaming, its prevalence, and associated risk factors. The establishment of specialized treatment centers in South-East Asia, the US, and Europe reflects the growing need for professional help. It is argued that only by understanding the appeal of Internet gaming, its context, and neurobiologic correlates can the phenomenon of Internet gaming addiction be understood comprehensively. The aim of this review is to provide an insight into current perspectives on Internet gaming addiction using a holistic approach, taking into consideration the mass appeal of online games, the context of Internet gaming addiction, and associated neuroimaging findings, as well as the current diagnostic framework adopted by the American Psychiatric Association. The cited research indicates that the individual’s context is a significant factor that marks the dividing line between excessive gaming and gaming addiction, and the game context can gain particular importance for players, depending on their life situation and gaming preferences. Moreover, the cultural context is significant because it embeds the gamer in a community with shared beliefs and practices, endowing their gaming with particular meaning. The cited neuroimaging studies indicate that Internet gaming addiction shares similarities with other addictions, including substance dependence, at the molecular, neurocircuitry, and behavioral levels. The findings provide support for the current perspective of understanding Internet gaming addiction from a disease framework. The benefits of an Internet gaming addiction diagnosis include reliability across research, destigmatization of individuals, development of efficacious treatments, and the creation of an incentive for public health care and insurance providers. The holistic approach adopted here not only highlights empirical research that evidences neurobiologic correlates of Internet gaming addiction and the establishment of a preliminary diagnosis, but also emphasizes the necessity of an indepth understanding of the meaning, context, and practices associated with gaming.

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          How people intentionally change addictive behaviors with and without treatment is not well understood by behavioral scientists. This article summarizes research on self-initiated and professionally facilitated change of addictive behaviors using the key trans-theoretical constructs of stages and processes of change. Modification of addictive behaviors involves progression through five stages--pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance--and individuals typically recycle through these stages several times before termination of the addiction. Multiple studies provide strong support for these stages as well as for a finite and common set of change processes used to progress through the stages. Research to date supports a trans-theoretical model of change that systematically integrates the stages with processes of change from diverse theories of psychotherapy.
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            The neural basis of addiction: a pathology of motivation and choice.

            A primary behavioral pathology in drug addiction is the overpowering motivational strength and decreased ability to control the desire to obtain drugs. In this review the authors explore how advances in neurobiology are approaching an understanding of the cellular and circuitry underpinnings of addiction, and they describe the novel pharmacotherapeutic targets emerging from this understanding. Findings from neuroimaging of addicts are integrated with cellular studies in animal models of drug seeking. While dopamine is critical for acute reward and initiation of addiction, end-stage addiction results primarily from cellular adaptations in anterior cingulate and orbitofrontal glutamatergic projections to the nucleus accumbens. Pathophysiological plasticity in excitatory transmission reduces the capacity of the prefrontal cortex to initiate behaviors in response to biological rewards and to provide executive control over drug seeking. Simultaneously, the prefrontal cortex is hyperresponsive to stimuli predicting drug availability, resulting in supraphysiological glutamatergic drive in the nucleus accumbens, where excitatory synapses have a reduced capacity to regulate neurotransmission. Cellular adaptations in prefrontal glutamatergic innervation of the accumbens promote the compulsive character of drug seeking in addicts by decreasing the value of natural rewards, diminishing cognitive control (choice), and enhancing glutamatergic drive in response to drug-associated stimuli.
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              A ‘components’ model of addiction within a biopsychosocial framework

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Psychol Res Behav Manag
                Psychol Res Behav Manag
                Psychology Research and Behavior Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1179-1578
                2013
                14 November 2013
                : 6
                : 125-137
                Affiliations
                Psychology Research and Behavior Management, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Daria J Kuss, Birmingham City University, City North Campus, Birmingham B42 2SU, UK, Tel +44 78 9111 9490, Email daria.kuss@ 123456bcu.ac.uk
                Article
                prbm-6-125
                10.2147/PRBM.S39476
                3832462
                © 2013 Kuss. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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