Psychiatrists have issued a warning over the link between depression and video game addiction, after MRI scans revealed for the first time the potential damage caused to young brains.
The images showed the signals between the different parts of gaming addicts’ brains were disrupted, driving them to continue playing but also worsening their depression.
The “emotional” part of the brain, responsible for the feelings of depression, was shown to be overriding the “executive” part of the brain that could rein in their addiction.
Dr Louise Theodosiou, a leading adolescent psychiatrist with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said it was an important study in linking gaming addiction with a rise in depression among the young which has been shown in studies to affect as many as one in four teenagers.
“If you have something distorting the relationship between the emotional and analytical parts of the brain, it’s potentially damaging and also very compulsive,” she said.
“We need to find creative ways to deal with children who are retreating online, particularly when they are doing it to the exclusion of all else.
“We are aware of children having Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) from playing games non-stop. There was a case of a young man dying in Asia after 48 hours gaming. If you are living in an online world, there is a risk of a disconnect from your physical self which is particularly dangerous.”
– Charles Hymas
Image source – Flickr.com