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(CNN Spanish) – A 15-year-old Spanish minor has become the world’s first documented clinical case of Fortnite video game addiction: he spent 20 hours a day in front of the screen playing games and was hospitalized for two months to receive treatment for serious symptoms.
The study, published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry by a research team made up of staff from the Castellón Provincial Hospital, the Jaume I University and the Castellón General University Hospital, reports how the minor was hospitalized for two months to treat his strong dependence.
As detailed by the team of researchers in the publication, the minor would have developed this “serious behavioral addiction” as a way to regulate the discomfort experienced by the loss of a relative, as well as by changing to a second-year class of Compulsory Secondary Education where higher performance was required.
Symptoms of Fortnite addiction
Therefore, according to the group of experts, the minor developed symptoms such as “isolation at home, rejection of social interactions with refusal to go to health services, persistent personal inflexibility, little interest in their environment, very selective in their tastes and activities restrictive “.
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The dependence on the video game was such, according to Dr. Matías Real, involved in the investigation, that the minor came to play the video game between 18 and 20 hours a day.
Seeing that this symptomatology led to greater school absenteeism, a break in rest schedules, neglect of personal hygiene and irregular failure to take the prescribed treatment, the professionals decided to admit him to the Children’s and Youth Day Hospital of Castellón.
At that time, the doctors chose to apply a treatment that required an “intensive multidisciplinary approach, from a cognitive-behavioral approach, working with both the patient and his family and, at the same time, implementing such intervention strategies. such as cognitive restructuring, development of personal skills, management of contingencies and establishment of daily guidelines “.
This treatment, as highlighted by the professionals involved with the case, served so that the minor was able to appreciate “the repercussions that the use of the video game was having in his daily life”, as well as “address the mourning for the death of his family”.
As a result, the adolescent significantly decreased screen use and improved personal and social functioning.
To this day, the minor continues with training in emotional regulation and with the acquisition of communication skills in a group way.
The addictive potential of Fortnite
The specialists who have worked on this case affirm that video games are not a problem in themselves since “their proper use can lead to benefits at an educational level, at a social level and can even be therapeutic for some disorders”. However, they point out that attention should be paid to their use, especially if there are signs of abuse in their use.
In the case of Fortnite, two aspects that promote its addictive potential stand out: “The imposition of deadlines to meet the challenges of each season and not lose progress, and access to live broadcast platforms that show people playing while discussing their strategies “.