The Department of Psychiatry at South Korea-based Chung Ang University, College of Medicine, believes it has found the key to stemming addiction to video games: the antidepressant drug Bupropion. Their results are drawn from a little research conducted presumably earlier this year on reducing "Internet Game Addiction" in entrenched gamers.
"Bupropion has been used in the treatment of patients with substance dependence based on its weak inhibition of dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake. We hypothesized that 6 weeks of bupropion sustained release (SR) treatment would decrease craving for Internet game play as well as video game cue-induced brain activity in patients with Internet video game addiction (IAG)."
Eleven participants described as suffering "Internet Game Addiction" thanks to their habit of playing StarCraft (practically South Korea's national sport) for over 30 hours a week were given the bupropion treatment over the course of the study. Admittedly several of these addicts set rather bad examples for gamers, with six members skipping school for over two months to play at Internet cafes while another two ended up getting divorced from their spouses because of "excessive Internet use at night".
At the end of the study period, department researchers determined that the desire in the eleven particpants to play video games decreased by 35.5 percent, with their desire to play StarCraft alone decreasing 23.6 percent.
After a 6 week period of bupropion SR, craving for Internet video game play, total game play time, and cue-induced brain activity in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were decreased in the IAG. We suggest that bupropion SR may change craving and brain activity in ways that are similar to those observed in individuals with substance abuse or dependence.
Their gaming habits were compared to "eight healthy comparison subjects". Healthy gaming habits in this case means less than an hour of StarCraft each day, no more than three days a week.
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