A person who may be dissatisfied with certain aspects in their life usually turn to gaming for distraction and may end up becoming 'addicted, although this does not necessarily mean they suffer from serious addiction.

This according to research findings from Cardiff University, United Kingdom that says the support is not there for it to be considered serious, like drug addiction.

Of the 2,300 self-confessed'gaming addicts' that participated in the study, only nine met the criteria to be diagnosed with gaming addiction.

"We didn't see a large number of people with clinical problems," lead author Dr Netta Weinstein was quoted as saying.

Gaming addiction, according to the American Psychiatric Association, consists of obsession with internet games, withdrawal when not playing, longer times spent online, failing to quit the habit, continued gaming despite effect of the habit on others, lying about gaming, loss of interest in other activities, use of games to relive anxiety and relationship strains resulting from gaming.

Five or more of these constitute gaming addiction.

But in the study, where 2,316 "gaming addict" participants took part for six months, there is barely a significant number of what may be considered true addicts. The participants answered a questionnaire regarding their health, physical activity and lifestyle at the start and end of the research.

Nine met the required criteria at the start of the trial, but none experienced these symptoms six months later. Also, three participants had four or more criteria but aren't concerned much about their habit.

The researchers then suggested that it is possible that gamers might be using gaming as a distraction, if they are distressed about their life outside the screen.

"Having more needs fulfillment in life can make people feel better about their gaming," Dr Weinstein said.

Meanwhile, clinical psychologist Kimberly Young, noted that addicted gamers might need to examine the emotional motives which prompt them to play, and try to find another way to address those needs.

According to an industry report, there is said to be 1.2 billion people worldwide playing games, nearly half of which plays online games. MIMS

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