Computer game addicts may behave like autism sufferers

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London, Apr 3 (UNI) If you can't stop playing computer games, be careful.

Doctors say it could give you the same highly negative character traits associated with a form of autism.

Psychologists found that game playing could dominate users' lives, making them lose sleep, miss meals and putting strain on their married life.

''They may need medical help to combat the habit,'' according to Dr John Charlton of Bolton University.

Studing almost 400 computer game players, mostly men, it showed the closer they became addicted to game playing, the more likely they were to display personality traits such as low self-esteem, introverted behaviour, worrying and anxiety.

These characteristics were commonly found in Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism where sufferers have difficulties in forming relationships, social interaction and communication.

''Our research supports the idea that people who are heavily involved in game playing may be nearer to autistic spectrum disorders than people who have no interest in gaming,'' Daily Mail quoted Dr Charlton as saying.

The study investigated the level to which game playing disrupted players' everyday lives and how much it dominated their thoughts and emotions, he said.

Married men might be at risk of divorce because of the impact on their lives, said Dr Charlton.

''It's possible that one in 30 players are so obsessed that they might need medical help,'' he added.

The key signs were when you're playing more than you think you ought to and you can't cut down even if it's taking over your life.

UNI XC PD PM1837

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