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Personality Traits Of Those 'Pre-Disposed' To Addiction

Some personality traits might mean a person is more pre-disposed to developing an addiction.

"There are personality traits such as being rather impulsive, being very much reward dependent when a person feels a lot better in themselves if they are repeatedly rewarded by some activity of the substance," Professor John Saunders, Director of the Drug and Alcohol program at Wesley Hospital Kogarah said.

Some addictive potentials can also be inherited, particularly if there is a strong family history of addictive disorders.

"We see this classically with alcohol, and so young people who become addicted to online games may have a history of alcohol or other substance dependence in their own family," Saunders said.

While these could be potential red flags, Saunders warned addictive disorders can still be formed by those without any risk factors.

READ MORE: 'Gaming Disorder': Addiction Recognised By WHO

READ MORE: Why Teen Brains Are Susceptible To Screen Addiction

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Adolescent and young men tend to be those who develop gaming addictions, said Professor John Saunders, Director of the Drug and Alcohol program at Wesley Hospital Kogarah.

The ratio of male to females with gaming addictions is 10:1 and that is because of a "number of risk factors" Saunders told 10 daily.

"If a young guy finds that he is not succeeding in school according to his or others' expectations but he is finding he can play an online game well, that is a very impotent risk factor, he said.

Other risk factors Saunders highlighted were for those who have ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Saunders said we are also seeing younger children developing addictions to online games due to the 'electronic babysitter'.

"Games like Candy Crush is a very popular one, it does tend to be played by children in their younger years, from the age of about six or seven, up to the early teens."

Signs Of Addiction

According to Saunder people don't see playing games online for hours a day as an issue or a problem, 'and it is more of a concern initially for family and friends'.

"Initially, it is spending more and more time playing a game, and time spent doing what they used to do with family and friends receding."

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Saunders told 10 daily of one such case, where a 13-year-old boy who was known to be a "promising young soccer player" but let his sport fall to the wayside because of gaming.

"He started missing practices, he dropped out of the team," Saunders said.

But overcoming addiction as a young child is not as simple as deleting an app or removing the console.

"If the parent just deletes the app, then how is the kid going to react to that?" Saunders said

"They may react is a very negative way, and it may seriously interfere with the relationship the kid has with their parent."

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A withdrawal phenomenon is also a common effect of removing access to gaming devices and can manifest in mood swings, anxiousness and even violent behaviour.

Introducing 'rules of the home', that are not just followed by the children but by parents as well are key in curbing the risk of addiction to gaming.

Children under five are recommended to have no screen time that involves online games (this does not include educational games and watching shows).

While just one hour is the recommended maximum screen time a child aged six to 10 should have playing games.