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date: 18 June 2021

Chapter 20 of Addiction Medicine covers disorders which are related to gaming, principally its online or electronic forms such as multiplayer war games. These games are played against specialized computer programs and/or other people accessing that program. Addiction to gaming has become a major problem in many countries, especially among adolescents, with a rapid spread of computer games and the Internet. The major forms of computer games are described and the addictive potential of multiplayer online role playing games is highlighted. The psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of these addictions are outlined. The main clinical syndromes and effects are described, and these include depression, daytime somnolence and day-night reversal, weight loss and weight gain, isolation and conflict, and declining school and work performance. Antecedent conditions and comorbid psychiatric disorders are described. The principles of cognitive behaviour therapy are outlined, with suggestions as to where pharmacological treatments may have a place.

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