Does Short-term Treatment of Internet and Computer Game Addiction Work?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
video-gamesDr. Klaus Wölfling
Psychologische Leitung – Ambulanz für Spielsucht
Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie
Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Mainz

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response:  Our institution, the outpatient clinic of Behavioral Addictions at the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, University Medical Center Mainz started as a pilot project, which was funded by Rhineland-Palatine, our federal state in Germany. We rapidly noticed the need for treatment in the population. We revealed insights of the disease during the last decade. During this time, we developed and refined therapeutic processes addressing Internet Addiction and Gaming Disorder. We conducted a pilot study, which tested the feasibility of a CBT-treatment approach for Internet Addiction in an RCT. We learned a lot from therapy research and noticed that it was important to conduct a study, which indicates an effective treatment for this disease.

STICA found a strong remission rate for Internet and Computer game Addiction of treatment group vs. WLC (OR=10.10; 94% CI 3.69 to 27.65).

 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: We found a strong remission rate for Internet and Computer game Addiction of treatment group vs. WLC . This indicates a strong treatment effect for subjects suffering from IA od GD.  One can say: There is effective stable and lasting treatment available for IA and GD. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Besides Short-term Treatment of Internet and Computer Game Addiction, we are treating patients suffering from IA or GD for a decade by now. About 10 percent of these over 1.000 patients were women. Clinically, we do not see a difference in the man or women regarding their treatment respondent’s rates. Nonetheless, interestingly, we notice that empirical studies report equal proportions of man and women regarding the prevalence of IA. Actually, we are conducting a study to further understand this gab. Future RCTs might also include women in the treatment to enlighten further insights and probably gender differences in therapeutic processes for IA and GD. Also STICA is a promising manualized short-term CBT for a broad range of internet addictions in multiple treatment centers. Further trials investigating its long-term efficacy and addressing specific (sub)-groups compared to active control conditions are required. Considering therapy research and the ongoing development of treatment processes, STICA might serve as TAU for further RCTs.

Additionally, a specific treatment for online pornography is developed. Online pornography marks one of the most addictive domains of internet use besides gaming. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: Besides the strong treatment effects, we noticed that participants might profit even further, if the treatment phase would be prolonged. Thus, the understanding of the personal history and its contribution to the constitution of the disease and its elaboration are important for the patients. Additionally, an even stronger focus on exposition training and consequently in relapse prevention might be considered. A motivational phase would also profit from that.

Citation:

Wölfling K, Müller KW, Dreier M, et al. Efficacy of Short-term Treatment of Internet and Computer Game AddictionA Randomized Clinical TrialJAMA Psychiatry. Published online July 10, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.1676

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