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Important News: There’s an Effective Way to Treat Gaming And Internet Addiction in Teens

There's an Effective Way to Treat Gaming And Internet Addiction in Teens

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In the International Classification of Diseases, being unhealthily hooked to video games or the internet is officially acknowledged, with teenagers being especially at risk — and as you would think, the worldwide coronavirus epidemic has exacerbated the problem.
Researchers are working hard to identify effective treatments for the diseases, which have been related to both mental health issues and poor academic performance. A recent study seems to provide a particularly promising approach of therapy for the disorders, according to the researchers.

A technique to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) called PROTECT (Professional Use of Technical Media) was used to reduce the intensity of symptoms in both gamers and internet users who were suffering from internet addiction.
Over a 12-month period, the PROTECT intervention was shown to be helpful in reducing symptoms of gaming disorder and undefined internet use problems, according to the findings of a recent article published by the researchers.

It was conducted on a total of 422 high school students from 33 different schools who were between the ages of 12 and 18 years old at the time of the research. These individuals were divided into two groups: those who were enrolled in a PROTECT course and those who were placed in a control group where no PROTECT instruction was provided. Follow-up surveys were then planned to take place over the course of a calendar year.
The PROTECT course is administered by certified psychologists and is comprised of four 90-minute sessions per participant. As with other cognitive-behavioral strategies, it attempts to alter negative patterns of thinking in order to alter behavior — in this instance, risk factors such as boredom, motivational difficulties, and social anxiety were addressed.

Researchers discovered that the severity of symptoms of gaming and online disorders had decreased by 39.8 percent in the PROTECT group, compared to 27.7 percent in the control group, after a year of participation in the study. In contrast, after a year, there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in the incidence rates of either illness.
Researchers report that “in addition, descriptive symptom analyses revealed an initial increase in symptom severity of gaming disorder or unspecified internet use disorder within the first month in the PROTECT intervention group, as opposed to a decrease in symptom severity in the assessment-only control group.”

“This paradoxical response might be explained by an increased awareness of harmful online conduct, which was caused by the PROTECT intervention,” the researchers write in their paper.
According to studies, what occurs in the brains of individuals with these forms of addictions is comparable to what happens in the brains of people who are hooked to substances such as drugs or alcohol. An estimated 4.6 percent of the population suffers from a gaming condition, with the incidence of internet use disorder hovering around the 6 percent level.

As a result of all of this, the scientific and medical communities are beginning to take these diseases seriously, particularly as the pandemic’s effect on schooling and social isolation continues to be felt throughout the globe.
More studies with more kids and higher-risk groups are desired by the researchers in the future, and they propose that the PROTECT materials may be offered by teachers as well as counselors in the future.
Given that the incidence rates for the two diseases did not decrease throughout the course of the study’s 12-month duration, the researchers believe that abstaining from addictive behaviors at the earliest chance is the best course of action going ahead.

As the researchers point out, “typically, preventive should begin before symptom manifestation and should target those who are most likely to benefit from it, and who are chosen based on criteria that enhance the likelihood of disease onsets, such as age and first symptoms.”

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