By Staff Writer
As video game systems become more common in U.S. households, more youths than ever are reporting gaming addictions. Now, a new study has shown that this may increase the risk of a range of behavioral problems, including drug use that forces adolescents to seek substance abuse help.
After surveying more than 4,000 young people, researchers from Yale University found a relatively low overall prevalence of video game addiction. However, among those who did report symptoms of the condition, the rate of behavioral problems and substance abuse were high.
These adolescents were significantly more likely to smoke cigarettes, abuse illicit drugs, experience depression and get in serious fights with their peers. Boys were almost twice as likely as girls to go through these problems.
Video game addiction was seen in 5 percent of participants. It was characterized by an irresistible urge to play or persistent tension that could only be alleviated by video games.
While normal recreational gaming appears to be harmless, the researchers said that their findings underscore the importance of parental supervision. This may help youths avoid developing an addiction to video games that lead to further complications and possibly the need for drug rehab.