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A study found that talk therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is a promising treatment for Internet and video game addiction.
In CBT, professionals help patients identify the causes of addiction and ways to overcome these behaviors. They also encourage patients to adopt healthier habits.
According to researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg / yoʊˈhɑn əs ˈgut nˌbɜrg / University-Mainz, this type of therapy kicked the habit of 70% of 143 game-addicted patients. The researchers never gave the patients drugs and did not stop them from using computers. Instead, they focused on changing the patients’ relationship with video games and the Internet.
The researchers’ strategy involved informing the 143 patients about the effects of video game addiction. The patients were also asked to keep a diary, where they noted the emotions that sparked their desire to play video games. Then, they learned how to cope with those emotions in other ways.
For the study, the participants were all men who visited clinics between 2012 and 2016 in Germany and Austria to treat their video game addiction. Seventy-two of them underwent 15 weekly group CBT sessions, and the remaining 71 were put on a waiting list for the treatment. In the end, 50 patients who received the treatment showed signs of recovery from the addiction, while only 17 in the other group displayed the same behaviors.
Despite the study’s positive results, the researchers acknowledged its flaws, such as the absence of female participants. Kai W. Müller, one of the researchers, explained that women who have video game addiction seek help. However, they do not usually go to clinics for treatment.