For the myriad teens with Internet Gaming Disorder, some symptoms may seem like any other obsession. These include lack of self-control over money and time spent in regards to gaming. It also appears as distancing themselves from friends and family, and incomplete schoolwork.
Similar to any other form of addiction, their brains may be different too.
Teens with an addiction to internet gaming seem to have clearer connections between various parts of their brain. And though this may not be a negative thing as far as the functions of the brain. The hyper-connectivity lead to a greater chance of multiple psychiatric disorders.
Internet gaming is clearly a new concept, but it has careened into the limelight in the past decade. In the People’s Republic of China, this market alone generates revenue of an estimated $12 billion. Statistics from 2012 reveal that more than a billion people worldwide played computer games.
In the new report, researchers took MRI brain scans of 76 teenagers diagnosed with the disorder, and 74 without the disease. Then they examined the connections between 25 separate regions of the brain.
Turns out that teens with the addiction had drastically stronger connections between parts of their brain. Some that could boost their cognitive ability! For example, a reinforced connection between the bilateral insula and dorsal cingulate cortex may allow them to react quicker to different events. These stimuli are the kind you would find during an attack in a video game.
The next question seems like a difficult one to answer. Which is very much like the old metaphor of the chicken and the egg. Does excessive gaming change the way our brain works or was it a difference in the pre-existing. Mental wiring that drove these people to game obsessively in the first place?