New study shows link between ADHD and video game addiction

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

A recent published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors discusses the link between video game addiction and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The study included 20,000 participants that answered questions about gaming addiction and according to Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen, doctor of psychology and clinical psychologist specialist at the University of Bergren, the study showed clear tendencies as to which type of people develop an addiction to social media and gaming.

Men showed higher tendencies of addiction to online gaming, gambling, and viewing porn online, whereas women had increased incidences of addiction to texting, online shopping, and social media. The study used seven criteria to help identify what gaming addiction was and how patients rated their use, ranging from “never” to “very often.” These seven criteria were developed by Lemmens in 2009 and are as follows: 

  1. You think about playing games all day long
  2. ou play games to forget about real life
  3. You spend increasing amounts of time on games
  4. You feel bad when you are unable to play
  5. Others have unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use
  6. You have fights with other people (such as your family and friends) over your time spent on games
  7. You neglect other important activities in your life in order to play games

If patients score high on at least four of these items, it could mean that they are addicted. Andreassen says, "Excessively engaging in gaming may function as an escape mechanism for, or coping with, underlying psychiatric disorders in attempt to alleviate unpleasant feelings, and to calm restless bodies. The study implies that younger with some of these characteristics could be targeted regarding preventing development of an unhealthy gaming pattern." (1)

Do you or someone you know have an alcohol or drug addiction? Do you or someone you know have a compulsive need to watch pornography on a daily or weekly basis, or an obsession with online gaming? Curing addiction is a very complex issue and one that is still being explored in a variety of ways. If you have experienced one of these issues, you know the real struggle that goes on in your brain. Technology and the Internet should be used as tools, but they should never have complete control over your mind or have an impact on the way you interact with life or deal with your responsibilities. If you or someone you know is showing signs of technology, pornography, or Internet addiction, seek help immediately and start establishing boundaries.



  1. “Videogame addiction linked to ADHD.” Science Daily. April 25, 2016.
    Accessed online May 22, 2016.