Depression and suicidal risk in GD and IGD. Clinical, neurobiological and social preconditions for this comorbid psychopathology

Depression and suicidal risk in GD and IGD. Clinical, neurobiological and social preconditions for this comorbid psychopathology

On January 7, 2022, an article was published on the topic: “Depression and suicidal risk in Gambling disoder (GD) and Internet gaming disoder (IGD). Clinical, neurobiological and social preconditions for this comorbid psychopathology” in Journal of Psychiatry: Open Access.

Summary description of research:

Depression is one of the most common concomitant mental disorders associated with gambling addiction and internet gaming disorder.  It is diagnosed in 23,1 – 41,3% of patients with GD. The conducted meta-analysis and reviews of internet addiction studies, which included IGD and SNS addiction, reveal a high degree of correlation with depression in 75  – 89% of studies. Patients with GD, there is a high suicide risk in 25,6 – 40,21%, in 81,4% there are suicidal thoughts, which in 29,6 – 49.2% of cases having a permanent, obsessive nature, 6,9 – 30,2% commit suicide attempts. Suicide is the main cause of death (31%) in this category of patients. High suicidal risk (thoughts, attempts) is found by researchers in different countries in IGD, with both problematic and pathological users.

The analysis of clinical and neurobiological studies, as well as their own clinical cases, reveals that emotional dysregulation, constant emotional distress, experienced altered states of consciousness with a violation of self-identification during the game and with problematic use of social networks, as well as increasing negative social consequences, are predisposing risk factors for the development of depression in these behavioral dependencies.  As for the time sequence, few longitudinal studies have found a bi-directional relationship between depression and the severity of addiction symptoms.more than half of the patients had clinically significant symptoms of depression after the start of the game and the formation of a particular behavioral dependence.

Based on all the results obtained, we can conclude that dependent players and users of social networks can become both initially mentally healthy people, and those who have already experienced subclinical and clinical manifestations of depression.  In the first case, the depression was added in the process of aggravating the symptoms of addiction, and in the second, the depressive symptoms increased and worsened. But when healthy life activity was restored, the severity of symptoms of depression also decreased.

This study also shows that information game and network technologies are the main risk factor for the development of both addiction and comorbid psychopathology, up to suicidal behavior.

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