Octavian Vasiliu, Daniel Vasile



Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Internet Gaming Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder - A Case Report

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Internet gaming disorder, alcohol dependence, functional impairment, cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual psychotherapy, behavioral addictions, cognitive restructuring


Internet gaming disorder is a behavioral addiction integrated in the category of “specific Internet addictions”, due to its particular focus on the online gaming behaviors and related cues. A high rate of co-morbidity is reported in cases of various types of Internet addictions, which implies a thoroughly conducted anamnesis is necessary. DSM-5 presents a set of diagnosis criteria, but Internet gaming disorder is only a provisional entity that requires further research. Multiple scales have been developed for the purpose of measuring the severity of this addiction, most of them being based on DSM-5 criteria. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been successfully applied in different drug-induced disorders with good results, therefore extending this psychotherapy administration range to behavioral addictions seems granted by their common pathophysiology. The case of a young adult diagnosed with both Internet gaming disorder and alcohol use disorder is analyzed using the cognitive-behavioral paradigm. The psychotherapy applied in this case was a structured 10-week, by-weekly sessions, cognitive restructuring- and coping skills- focused approach. Time spent on Internet gaming decreased with 50%, Internet Gaming Disorder Scale- Short Form (IGDS-SF) score was lower with 45%, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score decreased with 33%, and Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF) also reduced with 65% after 10 weeks. A follow-up at week 20 recorded an increase in the alcohol use, but not in the Internet gaming behavior. The monitorisation of patients with multiple addictions (behavioral and/or drug-related) is necessary throughout the duration of treatment, but also after ending the structured psychotherapy, with frequent follow-ups, due to the high risk for relapse.

Cite this paper

Octavian Vasiliu, Daniel Vasile. (2017) Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Internet Gaming Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder - A Case Report. International Journal of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 2, 34-38