GAMING ‘DAMAGES BRAIN’
A YOUNG gaming addict has suffered changes to his brain similar to those seen in dementia patients.
The 21-year-old plans to seek public funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) following the neurological report.
“I’m brain damaged,’’ Oliver, who does not want his surname published, said.
He spent three years as a teenager playing the online games for seven hours a day, after dropping out of school in Year 9.
“I quit in October 2015 and I haven’t got better,” Oliver said.
Oliver’s mother Donna said she had spent more than $15,000 on psychologists, psychiatrists, brain scans and neurologists.
A CT scan of Oliver’s brain last year found reduced blood flow to the temporal and frontal lobes, a pattern also seen in dementia. But the radiologist’s report said the symptoms were not related to Alzheimer’s dementia.
Oliver, who lives near Tamworth, says he has trouble controlling his emotions as a result of the constant gaming when he was younger and is calling for games to carry warnings about the chance of addiction.
“It’s very disabling,” he said. “When I get angry I can’t really calm myself down.
“When I did punch a hole in the wall, afterwards I’d be really upset – it’s as if I wasn’t even really there.’’
Oliver said he quit gaming after three years of obsessively playing Minecraft and Team Fortress 2 from the age of 15.
Australian internet addiction expert and teen psychiatric specialist Dr Huu Kim Le, who specialises in internet gaming disorders, yesterday said gaming could affect the development of teenage brains.