Associations between prospective symptom changes and slow-wave activity in patients with Internet gaming disorder: A resting-state EEG study


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Abstract

The identification of the predictive factors and biological markers associated with treatment-related changes in the symptoms of Internet gaming disorder (IGD) may provide a better understanding of the pathophysiology underlying this condition. Thus, the present study aimed to identify neurophysiological markers associated with symptom changes in IGD patients and to identify factors that may predict symptom improvements following outpatient treatment with pharmacotherapy. The present study included 20 IGD patients (mean age: 22.71 ± 5.47 years) and 29 healthy control subjects (mean age: 23.97 ± 4.36 years); all IGD patients completed a 6-month outpatient management program that included pharmacotherapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Resting-state electroencephalography scans were acquired prior to and after treatment, and the primary treatment outcome was changes in scores on Young's Internet Addiction Test (IAT) from pre- to posttreatment. IGD patients showed increased resting-state electroencephalography activity in the delta and theta bands at baseline, but the increased delta band activity was normalized after 6 months of treatment and was significantly correlated with improvements in IGD symptoms. Additionally, higher absolute theta activity at baseline predicted a greater possibility of improvement in addiction symptoms following treatment, even after adjusting for the effects of depressive or anxiety symptoms. The present findings demonstrated that increased slow-wave activity represented a state neurophysiological marker in IGD patients and suggested that increased theta activity at baseline may be a favorable prognostic marker for this population.

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