CBT shows benefit for Internet, video game addiction

  • Wölfling K & al.
  • JAMA Psychiatry
  • 10 Jul 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Short-term outpatient cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) showed benefit for inducing remission of Internet and computer game addiction in a randomised trial.

Why this matters

  • Gaming disorder, a subtype of internet addiction (IA), was recently introduced as a new diagnosis in the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision.

Study design

  • Study of 143 men (age, 17-52 years) meeting criteria for IA in the past 6 months, randomly assigned to either short-term treatment for internet and computer game addiction (STICA; n=72) or a waitlist control group (n=71).
  • STICA was 15-week, CBT-based, manualised treatment.
  • Funding: German Research Foundation.

Key results

  • Participants in the STICA vs control group had 10 times higher remission rate (69.4% vs 23.9%; aOR, 10.10; P<.001>
  • Effect sizes differences that favoured STICA group at treatment termination were:
    • Clinician-rated assessment of Internet and computer game addiction (difference, 1.63).
    • Self-reported assessment of Internet and computer game addiction (difference, 1.37).
    • Time spent online on weekdays (difference, 1.13).
    • Time spent online on weekends (difference, 0.96).
    • Global Assessment of Functioning score (difference, 0.61).
    • Depression (difference, 0.38).
  • 2 serious adverse events were reported in the control group and 6 in the STICA group.

Limitations

  • Self-reported data.
  • Study limited to men.

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