A webinar for IAGP (The International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes) members was held on January 3, 2021 by IASGA. Topic of the webinar: “Comorbid psychopathology in gambling disorder (GD), internet gaming disorder (IGD) and social networking sites (SNS) addiction. Clinical, neurobiological and social preconditions of comorbid psychopathology”.

Description of the Webinar:

It is well known that people with gambling disorder and with internet gaming disorder both suffer from other mental disorders too. The current work represents and analyzes interconnection, temporal sequence and risk of development of other mental disorders in individuals with GD and IGD.

The conducted meta-analysis and reviews of internet addiction studies, which included IGD and SNS addiction, reveal a high degree of correlation between IGD and anxiety 92%, with depression 89%, with ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 85%, with social phobia/anxiety and obsessive-compulsive symptoms 75%. In the gambling addiction case, the highest comorbidity was found with psychoactive substance use up to 57.5 – 72%; with mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder) 37.9-60%; with anxiety disorder 37.4-63%; with personality disorders 25-93% of players. Thus, psychoactive substance dependence is 5-6 times higher and the incidence of anxiety and mood disorders is 3 times higher in individuals with GD compared to the General population.

As for the time sequence, longitudinal studies have found a bi-directional relationship between comorbid mental disorder and the severity of addiction symptoms. more than half of the patients had clinically significant symptoms of the comorbid psychopathology after the start of the game and the formation of a particular behavioral dependence.

Gambling disoder (GD), internet gaming disoder (IGD) and social networking sites (SNS) addiction can form in individuals without mental disorders, as well as in people with mental disorders at the subclinical or clinical level. In the first case, comorbid psychopathology was added in the process of aggravating the symptoms of addiction, and in the second, symptoms of comorbid psychopathology increased and worsened. But when healthy life activity was restored, the severity of symptoms of accompanying mental disorders also decreased.

But as a result, new mental disorders are added, or existing ones are aggravated. The question is not in any particularly vulnerable group of people. This study also shows that game and network information technologies are the main risk factor for the development of these behavioral dependencies and comorbid psychopathology, up to suicidal behavior.

The following issues will be considered during the webinar:

1. General overview of the problem of game dependencies and social networking sites (SNS) addiction in modern society:

  • prevalence among different population groups;
  • the main risk factors;
  • negative psychosocial consequences;
  • peculiarities of the clinical course;
  • structural and functional neurobiological changes;
  • the most common types of comorbid psychopathology in game addiction.

2. Interconnection between these behavioral dependencies and

  • dependence on the use of psychoactive substances (alcohol, drugs);
  • mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder) and suicide risk;
  • anxiety disorders;
  • personality disorders;
  • sleep disruption;
  • attention defificit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and others.

3. Emotional distress, altered states of consciousness (game trance or the so-called “dark flow”) and negative psychosocial consequences as prerequisites for the development of different comorbid psychopathologies.

Objectives:

Share the results of several studies on gambling disorder, internet gaming disorder and social media addiction with the scientific and professional community.

Share information about manipulative and aggressive information technologies used in the gaming industry and social media. Also how these technologies contribute to addiction and impact on the mental health and social well-being of both children and adults.

To invite a constructive dialogue, сooperation and joint research on one of today’s global problems, which unfortunately does not have a serious critical attitude in society.