GAM­ING ‘DAM­AGES BRAIN’

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - NATASHA BITA

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.

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