Changes in brain structure in people with gaming disorder. A review of neuroimaging studies
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Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego w Warszawie, Instytut Psychologii
Submission date: 2023-04-05
Final revision date: 2023-05-29
Acceptance date: 2023-06-03
Online publication date: 2023-08-01
Publication date: 2023-08-01
Corresponding author
Mateusz Wojtczak   

Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego w Warszawie, Instytut Psychologii
This review aims to summarise the current knowledge on structural brain changes among people diagnosed with gaming disorder and the resulting clinical implications. The review will show the theoretical psychological and neurobiological models of computer gaming disorder in conjunction with the results of structural neuroimaging studies. Previous epidemiological studies indicate that the prevalence of gaming disorder in the population may reach approx. 2%. Researchers indicate that the aetiopathogenesis of computer game use disorder is complex and includes psychological, social, as well as neurological and hormonal factors. From the perspective of psychological research exploring gaming disorder, it can be concluded that a person has certain specific psychopathological features and/or symptoms, which, through mediating factors, such as the inability to cope with stress or negative emotions, influence the formation of the symptoms of the disorder. In the context of the neurobiology of behavioural addictions, researchers point to disorders in the mesocorticolimbic reward system, which is influenced by dysfunctional neuronal mechanisms of emotion and stress regulation. When describing structural changes in the brain, researchers most often report differences in the volume of grey matter, which include areas of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, temporooccipital cortex, superior and posterior parietal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, cerebellum, insular cortex, limbic system, and basal ganglia.
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