Jeffery Wilkins
Jeffrey Wilkins


Jeffery Wilkins, M.D. is Vice Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at Cedars-Sinai. Dr. Wilkins is also Medical Director of Addiction Medicine and Director of Addiction Studies within the department's Clinical Trials Unit. In addition, he serves as Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California , Los Angeles (UCLA). In addition, he serves as Director of the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit at the Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare Center and as Research Director of U.S. VETS, a national organization that provides housing and other services to homeless veterans.

Dr. Wilkins' research interests include pharmacotherapy of patients with substance abuse problems and/or mental illness, the pharmacokinetics of abused substances and the identification of biological markers for psychiatric disorders. His investigations have received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health and the Veterans Administration.

A board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Wilkins is a diplomate of the American Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, from which he has received and added qualification in addiction psychiatry. He has written articles for numerous peer-reviewed publications, including the American Journal of Psychiatry, Archives of General Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, California Pediatrician and the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Dr. Wilkins received his bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. After studying neurology at Queen Square and St. Pancras Hospitals in London, he completed a medical internship at UCSD School of Medicine and a psychiatry residency at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.



Biological Mechanisms of Online Gaming Addiction

There is an upswing in the lay press’ representation of videogame playing as potentially addictive. Most often, the use of the term “addictive” raises the negative image of alcoholics and drug addicts. The stories range from the common (e.g. parents reporting that their son/daughter spends too much time playing videogames) versus the rare (e.g. life threatening consequences of unrelenting game play). Application of scientific principles to this issue may prove to be the most prudent response to the public raising of these concerns. For example, while there is no evidence of any positive benefit from alcoholism and drug addiction, videogames and videogame formats are being applied across a wide range of educational and clinical therapeutic activities. The goal of this presentation is to provide a scientifically-based, balanced assessment of the scientific understanding of addiction as applied to gaming. The presentation will open with an interactive discussion of the meaning of the term “addictive” for gamers as a way of exploring both the positive and negative connotations of this term both within the gaming community and society in general. The evidence-based research on the biological mechanisms of addiction will be systematically reviewed including the latest data from imaging studies and neurotransmitter research. The presenters will then propose some possible implications of this research for online gaming studies as a means of leading into a collaborative discussion with the audience on how a deeper understanding of the biological mechanisms of addiction might influence the gaming community from developers to academics.

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