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Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest

The Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest brings together addiction and mental health service providers, researchers and subject matter experts in the fields of gambling, technology/Internet use and video gaming to collaborate and share knowledge on emerging trends and clinical best practices.

W5: What happens when video game addiction gets out of control? (

  • Problem gaming is a lot like drug addiction, with highs and lows. Gaming can go from fun to an escape over time.
  • Affects sleep, school, work, social engagement, and mental health.
  • 13% of Ontario teens experience some form of problem gaming.
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This is a small video describing beautifully the chemical changes in brain when children are having problematic video gaming.  Dr. Michael Milhem describes the basis of this behavior in a beautiful way. Some of the important information is below:

1:-  There is a scenario describing reaction of children when there games are taken away suddenly. Children when get their video games stopped  suddenly during their games they react very badly and violently, This behavior is due to two factors:

A:- Children do not have their prefrontal cortex developed. Prefrontal cortex control impulses and urges.

B:- secondly, during their playing games the level of Dopamine is high. The levels remain sustained during the game.

2:- So when games are stopped suddenly the  level of dopamine drops . Dopamine is a rewarding neurotransmitter. It is related to pleasure , motivation and concentration.

3:- When dopamine levels fall on stopping game suddenly the child feels frustrated and feel sadness because the pleasure related to high dopamine level and satisfaction level drops and child reacts badly for this change and wants to continue playing game.

4:- Dr. Michael Milhem explains the phenomenon very scientifically and its treatment by suggestion days to play and time to play per week and gap between game play and time to bed so that dopamine levels are not affected in acute change

5:= Dr.Michael also advises to look  very carefully into the reason for child's playing game this could be a coping mechanism for some under lying mental health issue.

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