Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is a formal mental disorder leading to bad outcomes for children and adolescents. This study comprehensively compared the estimated effect of various pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions for IGD from randomized controlled trials (RCT) through updated meta-analysis, using meta-regression. A search of PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, and Airiti Library between 2000 and 2017 was conducted for various IA/IGD intervention modalities. A total of 124 studies from 29 selected papers involving 5601 children and young adults with IA/IGD were found. Meta-analyzing the pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) revealed a preliminary random effect of 1.399 with a 95% confidence interval of 1.272–1.527, suggesting highly effective treatment of IA/IGD. After adjusting for the confounding risks of age, publication year, type of subjects, and type of study, this study revealed that combining pharmacotherapy with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or multi-level counseling (MLC) was the most effective treatment option. Using a scale of time spent online or a severity of IA symptoms scale was a more effective measurement, with p-values = 0.006 and 0.002, respectively. IA/IGD patients with comorbid depression showed worse outcomes than youth with another comorbidity. The corresponding model goodness-of-fit indices were τ2 = 1.188; I2-Residual = 89.74%; and Adjusted-R2 = 16.10%. This systematic review indicates that pharmacotherapy combined with CBT or MLC might be an effective therapeutic strategy for youth with gaming disorder.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19(5), 2612