Melbourne: Computer games can be as costly and debilitating as drug and alcohol dependence.
In a study by the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, conducted online among 1945 participants, 8 per cent were identified as problem gamers.
The volunteers who were part of the study admitted to gaming for extended periods, had fewer friends in real life and had even lost a significant relationship due to excessive play, reports The Herald Sun.
Other problems extended to craving more play time, and restlessness or irritability if they couldn’t get back to the controller.
Psychiatrist Guy Porter, who co-wrote a paper based on the survey’s findings for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, said: "Any pleasurable activity has the potential to become addictive or to form a repetitive pattern of use.
"Games are very enjoyable and provide a very positive experience for most people who use them.
"But there are a small number of people out there - those who are playing for eight hours plus a day - who have got a problem with it."