Obsessive compulsive disorder and internet gaming disorder
Background: Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessions and/or compulsions. Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges or images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted. Compulsions are repetitive behaviours or mental acts that an individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.
Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is characterized by a lack of interest in all everyday activities except internet games and it was added recently in DSM-5.
Although IGD and OCD are usually represented as opposite ends of the impulsivity and compulsivity dimensions, they share common behaviours.
Aim: To review the literature about the relationship between obsessive compulsive disorder and internet gaming disorder.
Methods: Research in Pubmed database with the keywords “internet gaming disorder” and “obsessive compulsive disorder”. Interesting bibliography in the studied papers was included.
Results: Behavioral addictions have high comorbidity of obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders and OCD is positively related to IGD.
Both OCD and IGD potentially induce deterioration in cognitive function but OCD patients reflect more difficulties while reading than IGD.
IGD is usually associated with dysfunction of the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) while OCD relates to dysfunction of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Nevertheless, it was demonstrated that IGD and OCD groups share both impairment in inhibitory control functions (OFC) as well as cognitive inflexibility (PFC). Also, neurocognitive dysfunction in IGD seems to be linked to feature of impulsivity and compulsivity of behavioral addiction rather than impulse dyscontrol by itself.
Conclusion: OCD is positively related to IGD and both disorders share characteristics as behavior pattern and neurocognitive impairment. The cerebral areas affected in both disorders seem to differ but there are studies that show that the neurophysiological systems implied may have common pathways.