By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Electronic gaming is very common among young adults and comes in many forms including smartphones, tablets, computers, game consoles, etc.

By some estimates, the market size for electronic gaming is almost the same size as the movie industry.

Almost 90% of people ages 16 to 24 play video games (1); and almost half were at risk of video game addiction (2).

While many adults engage in gaming in healthy ways, gaming addiction has been linked to insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress among college students (3).

One study looked at  gaming addiction, and depression (4).

Who was studied?

3267 undergraduate students from United States, China and Singapore(4).

What was studied?

Rates of addictions to Internet use, online gaming, and online social networking,

Their association with depressive symptoms (4).

What were the results?

31% of male students were addicted to online gaming, compared to 13% of female students (OR = 0.522, 95% CI = 0.440-0.620) (4)

37.3% of female students were addicted to social networking compared to 27.8% of male students (OR = 1.543, 95% CI = 1.329-1.791). (4)

Regarding depression rates:

  • Among students with online gaming addictiondepression rates were 65.5% for students in United States, 70.8% for China, and 69.6% for Singapore. (4)
  • Among students with internet addiction, depression rates were 76.5% for students in United States, 88.9% for China, and 75.9% for Singapore. (4)
  • Among students with online social networking addiction, depression rates were 68.8% for students in United States, 76% for China, and 71% for Singapore. (4)

What are some signs of Internet gaming disorder?

While there is no uniform criteria, some signs could include (5,6):

  • (The individual thinks about previous gaming activity or anticipates playing the next game; internet gaming becomes the dominant activity in daily life.)
  • Experienced withdrawal symptoms when internet gaming is taken away. (These symptoms are typically described as irritability, anxiety, or sadness, but there are no physical signs of pharmacological withdrawal.)
  • Developed Tolerance—the need to spend increasing amounts of time engaged in games.
  • Unsuccessful attempts to control the participation in gaming.
  • Continued excessive use despite knowledge of psychosocial problems.
  • Mislead/deceive family members, therapists, or others regarding the amount of gaming.
  • Use as escape or relieve a negative mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety).
  • Loss of interest in previous hobbies and entertainment as a result of, and with the exception of gaming.
  • Jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of participation in electronic gaming.

What are some caveats?

  • Further study is needed in the area of internet, and gaming addiction.
  • To learn more about internet addiction, click
  • While this study shows that males were more likely to have gaming addiction and female students were more likely to have internet addiction, newer research indicates that this gap appears to be narrowing.
  • For other studies on men and mental health, click here, and here.
  • To learn more about disparities of men, suicide, and mental health, go here:  Movember National Men’s Health Campaign.

Any other useful links?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.


  1. Brand J. (2012). Digital Australia (2012). National Research Prepared by Bond University for the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association. School of Communication and Media, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bond University.
  2. Hussain Z, Griffiths MD, Baguley T. Online gaming addiction: classification, prediction and associated risk factors. Addict Res Theory. 2012;20:359-371.
  3. Younes F, Halawi G, Jabbour H, et al. Internet addiction and relationships with insomnia, anxiety, Depression, stress and self-esteem in university students: a cross-sectional designed study. PLoS One. 2016;11:e0161126
  4. Catherine So-Kum Tang, PhD, Yee Woen Koh, PhD, and YiQun Gan, PhD Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health Vol 29, Issue 8, pp. 673 – 682 First Published November 30, 2017
  5. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and StatisticalManual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013Section III (“Emerging Measures and Models”) of DSM-5 (1, pp. 795–796).
  6. Andrew K. Przybylski, Ph.D., Netta Weinstein, Ph.D., Kou Murayama, Ph.D. Internet Gaming Disorder: Investigating the Clinical Relevance of a New Phenomenon. Am J Psychiatry 2017; 174:230–236; doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.16020224.

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Posted by R. Ryan Patel DO, FAPA OSU CCS Psychiatrist at 1:21pmPosted in AddictionDepressionE-Sports and mental healthInattentionLeisureMediaProductivity Tagged gaming addictiongaming depressioninternet addictioninternet depressionsocial media depression

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