Video Games and OCD in Teens

Having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious mental illness characterized by repeated thoughts and feelings that disrupt your life. It can lead to self-isolation and social isolation. However, if you think your teen might be suffering from OCD, there is treatment available. Depending on your child’s needs, a team of psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists may be involved in assessing your teen’s mental health.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco examined the effects of video games on children. They recruited 9,204 children aged 9 to 10 and surveyed them about their habits. They found that the risk of OCD increased by 13 percent for each hour of video game play. The odds also increased by 11 percent if the kids streamed videos. Interestingly, texting and video calling were not associated with the risk of OCD.

The symptoms of OCD are often withdrawn behavior, such as checking one’s appearance before leaving home or avoiding schoolwork. These behaviors can interfere with everyday living and can even cause seizures. OCD is a recognized mental health disorder that can be treated with medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, or exposure and response prevention.

The study used a structural equation modeling package called lavaan to analyze the data. The model included a direct effect of video gaming on the BOLD signal. This served to check the significance of the association after controlling for covariates such as age, gender, and parental income. The final sample consisted of 1128 non-video gamers and 800 video gamers who played at least 21 hours per week. They were assessed for OCD symptoms in 2021.

Those who are diagnosed with OCD are aware that their obsessions are irrational. They use compulsions to control these feelings. They also engage in behavioural therapy, such as exposure and response prevention, to guide them through the process of responding to stimuli. They can also use CBT to help curb their urges to play video games.

According to the World Health Organization, digital gaming is now classified as a mental health disorder. It is important to understand why some kids develop a video game addiction and how to recognize signs. These symptoms may be present before a teen develops other disorders. If you think your teen is having difficulties with video game addiction, talk with a doctor. Often, the addiction is the first sign of other issues.

Although these findings may seem surprising, the authors of the study believe that the relationship between OCD and video game addiction is a natural one. They believe that children who play video games for long periods of time are using them to cope with negative emotions. When playing video games, the activity in the amygdala, which governs negative emotions, stops. This is a similar result to that seen in other addictive behaviors. This is likely because the video game triggers dopamine release in the brain, which in turn makes the nerve activity sync. This can be dangerous, as the brain experiences photosensitive seizures.

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