Not Everyone Agrees This Is A Disorder
While it feels like this classification is a fait accompli, the designation of gaming disorder as an addiction remains hotly debated.
The American Psychiatric Association is still not convinced. Two things are holding it back.
The first is that problem gaming often occurs alongside other factors such as loneliness, or mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. The APA argues problematic gaming may be a symptom of these, rather than a unique condition in its own right.
The second issue for the APA is the lack of strong evidence and research to support gaming disorder as an addiction in its own right.
Other experts have also weighed into this debate suggesting the classification is simply a response to the huge community concern and moral panic about video games.
Are Video Games And Screens Another Addiction
In our increasingly digitalized world, where most of us, and even our children, own electronic devices with screens, many parents and adults worry about the impact of screen use for themselves and their children.
There is much controversy over the effects of screen use and exposure to violence in video games. This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics rolled back some of the strict guidelines for screen time, citing that not all time children spend in front of digital devices is negative. The AAP sought to strike a balance between the increasing dependence on technology and what is healthy for young, developing minds.
Yet, a reason for concern and thoughtful monitoring of screen use remains. A 2014 study conducted by Zhejiang Normal University in China found that young adults who were addicted to online gaming showed lower volumes of gray and white brain matter than young adults in the control group who were not addicted to online gaming. Lower volumes of gray and white matter in some areas of the brain translates to increased difficulties with decision-making, impulse control and emotion regulation.
In addition, recent studies have found that excessive video game and screen time interferes with sleep, mood and social learning in children and adolescents.
Is screen time damaging?
How can gaming become an addiction?
What can we do?
Topics in this Post
Debates On The Classification
A meta-analytic review of pathological gaming studies concluded that about 3% of gamers may experience some symptoms of pathological gaming. The report noted problems in the field with defining and measuring pathological gaming and concluded that pathological gaming behaviors were more likely the product of underlying mental health problems rather than the inverse.
Barnett and Coulson expressed concern that much of the debate on the issue of addiction may be a knee jerk response stimulated by poor understanding of games and game players. Such issues may lead both society and scholars to exaggerate the prevalence and nature of problematic gaming, and over-focus on games specifically, while ignoring underlying mental health issues.
Other scholars have cautioned that comparing the symptoms of problematic gaming with problematic gambling is flawed, and that such comparisons may introduce research artifacts and artificially inflate prevalence estimates. For instance, Richard Wood has observed that behaviors which are problematic in regards to gambling may not be as problematic when put into the context of other behaviors that are rewarding such as gaming. Similarly, Barnett and Coulson have cautioned that discussions of problematic gaming have moved forward prematurely without proper understanding of the symptoms, proper assessment and consequences.
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Has Gaming Become A Negative Force In Your Life
Sure, gaming isnt all bad.
It can be a fun and creative way to pass the time and work your brain
If its taking over the balance of your life, however, then its time to consider some serious changes.
Reach out to your friends and family, and inform them of the lifestyle change youre trying to implement so that you can receive support.
Note: if you have a serious gaming problem, to the point where you are a danger to yourself, please seek professional help.
We all need help sometimes thats the nature of being human in the real world.
Want to read more on this topic?
Check out the bonus material, How Violence in Video Games is Affecting Your Mental Health,here.
How To Overcome Video Game Addiction
When you hear the word addiction, the first thing that pops into your head is probably drugs or alcohol. Gambling or sex addictions might also register as types of negative habits. Or perhaps even the digital obsession many have with their devices. But video game addiction? Is there really such a thing?
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Video Gaming Addiction: Why Are Teens Addicted
The huge demand for video games has resulted in a multibillion-dollar market. The market size is expected to reach $90 billion U.S. Dollars by 2020. Its reached 137.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.
In 2016, there were more than 2.5 billion gamers in the world, according to the European Mobile Game Market.
In addition to these statistics, video gaming has become a profitable business model. I know gamers who make millions from the comfort of their homes. And these are teenagers.
Game manufacturers and developers are smart. When you see your teen addicted to video games, its not entirely their fault. Why?
Its because game developers are deliberate about the games they launch. They make sure that these games are designed to be exciting, interactive, all-inclusive, and addictive.
They achieve these by creating challenging games that hold the players attention from start to finish. Funny enough, most video games have no end even those that have end takes years to master.
Although video games can be challenging, theyre equally enticing. So its almost impossible for gamers to give up.
Developers make gamers believe that success is just around the corner so they keep playing resulting in video game addiction or online gaming addiction.
How To Treat Video Game Addiction
The important thing to remember is that no matter what difficulties youre trying to overcome, youre not alone. Now that gaming disorder has been recognised as an official disease, more and more people are able to seek the help that they need.
The good news is that help is available for someone struggling with gaming disorder. Game Quitters is an online peer support community with hundreds of free videos, a community forum, and an affordable program for both gamers and for parents.
If youre looking for professional help, browse our directory for a video game addiction therapist.
If youre struggling to imagine your life being any different, have a look at our library of video game addiction stories. Hundreds of people have turned their lives around through Game Quitters, and you can do the same.
Even if you dont want to quit gaming forever, you might be amazed how much your life could change if you take some time away from video games. Dont look back a year from now and regret not taking action.
Take 90 days off gaming now, and change your life for the better.
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How To Stop Game Addiction Simple Tips To Apply:
Game is really important thing that helps you have fun and relax. Nevertheless, what you think you just do for fun can turn into something that control over your whole life, and get into a real addiction. This addiction will be able to interfere with your work and schooling, those things you have to do to earn money and survive.You might find it fun to spend all night leveling up on a game, but a game is never more important than he true meaning of your life, work and school performance. If you are tending to become a game addict, it is really important for you to take a step back and look at what you are doing. In addition, you should follow exactly the tip on how to stop game addiction that I release today.
1. Identify The Triggers:
The first tip on how to stop game addiction that you should apply is to determine what the triggers for this addiction are.
Triggers are physical and mental cues that make you want to indulge in the addiction named playing games. You should try to find out what things make you always want to play video games. It could be a unique website you go to online that starts your video gaming frenzy. It can also be the outside motivation when people around want you to play games with them. You need to do your best to discover what triggers are pulling you into the hold of playing games all the time.
2. Spend More Time Going Out With Your Friends:
3. Replace The Time You Are Cutting From The Computer On More Productive Activities:
15. Stay Positive:
Getting Help For Video Game Addiction
Recovery is not always easy, but it is achievable. Video game addiction can be just as dangerous as any other addiction and should be treated as such. The first step in overcoming dependency is being able to recognize that it exists. If you or someone you know exhibits any of the signs or symptoms described above, please dont hesitate to find help treating a video gaming addiction. Call our hotline today at to begin the road to recovery.
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Does The Video Game Industry View Gaming As A Disorder
Both the gaming industry and gamers themselves have objected to the creation of a gaming disorder, pointing to the lack of definitive evidence, risk of misdiagnosis, and the benefits that some derive from gaming. The industry is correct in pointing out the debates around behavioral addictions, although they may also be driven by self-interest.
Effects Of Video Game Addiction
Gaming addiction is a compulsive mental health disorder that can cause severe damage to ones life. Its common for a video game addict to spend over 10 hours a day gaming, usually well into the night, and many suffer from sleep deprivation 22.Massively multiplayer online role-playing games: comparing characteristics of addict vs non-addict online recruited gamers in a French adult population×. Immersed in their experience, gamers are known to have poor diets consisting mainly of energy drinks full of caffeine and sugar. Many are dehydrated and malnourished.
In more severe cases, gaming addicts report agoraphobia a type of anxiety disorder in which they fear leaving the house and others identify with hikikomori a term popularized in Japan as reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from social life 33.A preliminary cross-cultural study of Hikikomori and Internet Gaming Disorder: The moderating effects of game-playing time and living with parents×.
Gaming addicts tend to be moody and irritable, depressed, physically aggressive, and refuse to go to school or work due to gaming. To be addicted to games is to experience functional impairment in multiple areas of your life, and the long-term effects can be devastating. Gaming addicts fail out of college. They get divorced. And they struggle with unemployment.
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Are You Often Just Bored And Needing A Way To Fill The Hole
Instead of gaming, try going for a walk and sitting in the park for a while.
Go people watching or observe nature, and see if you can get lost in it the same way you do in video games.
Take up martial arts, surfing, or woodworking.
Books are another great time filler that leaves you with something you may be missing in your games knowledge. Just keep in mind that if youve been overindulging in games and social media for a while, it may take a week or two to retrain your brain again for the pleasures of in-depth reading.
Finally, sometimes it may be a good idea to learn how to be bored again.
In modern society, weve lost the magical ability to just sit and think. Often our greatest ideas come in our moments of downtime.
And often if you just force some uncomfortable boredom on yourself for a while, youll find it much easier to get motivated for other non-gaming activities youve been putting off.
But What Does Having A Bonafide Gaming Addiction Actually Look Like
Well, heres how Computer Game Addicts Anonymous describes a gaming addiction:
Having an obsession and compulsion to game, which grows worse over time, and an inability to limit our gaming, despite all the trouble and losses it causes.
Those little games on your smartphone and tablet can seem like harmless little ways to pass the time when youve got nothing better to do.
But it all adds up and stokes the fire.
These trivial pastimes can eat up countless hours and become just as addicting as more sophisticated gaming technologies.
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Video Games Can Do A Lot Of Good Too
Part of the concern here is that stifling video games could substantively harm people. Games are now used in education all the time. Some places, like Radboud Universitys Games for Emotional and Mental Health Lab in the Netherlands, are now studying the use of video games for therapy. Theres even some early research into prescription video games, trying to see how games especially with the advent of virtual reality could be used to help treat mental health conditions.
But beyond a medical setting, video games entertain people. They can let people relax after a hard day. They can provide an escape. All of these are real benefits that help people on a daily basis.
With the news of the WHOs designation earlier this year, I began to think about my own gaming, particularly back when I was in high school. I spent a lot of time playing World of Warcraft 40 hours a week, if not more.
I did not have the problems that Scott did. I got mostly As in high school, went to college and studied journalism, went to parties, hung out with friends on weekends, and spent time with my family.
In fact, looking back, I still think World of Warcraft was good for me. As a closeted gay teen, it was the one space where I found a group of friends I could be totally open with. I came out to them long before I came out to anyone I knew in my real life. Having a safe space online made my early gay life a lot more bearable.
How Common Is Video Game Addiction
One large-scale study concluded that 1.4 percent of video gamers may have an addiction. Other studies, conducted in various parts of the world and with various age groups and assessment criteria, have revealed prevalences of addiction among gamers ranging from 0.6 percent to 6 percent. Across all of these studies, what is clear is that the vast majority of video gamers do not have an addiction.
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It Starts By Getting Clear What You Do Want
Get out a piece of paper and write down why youre trying to decrease your gaming time .
And add a few of the solutions you want to try.
This will help reduce your urge to game by reminding you why youre trying to kick your habit in the first place. Keep it on hand to look at whenever you feel doubts.
You should also take this time to set other goals in your life. Cutting back or quitting games is a lot easier if you choose something more positive to focus on.
How Do I Get My Child To Stop Playing Video Games
When kids have trouble balancing video game play with the rest of their lives, its important to understand why they are playing. Most children play video games to simply have fungames are challenging, competitive, exploratory, and social. But sometimes a child may be playing because of other reasons, such as depression, loneliness, social anxiety, and ADHD. Understanding the feelings and experiences that drive a child to play video games is key to helping them balance or stop playing video games.
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Tips To Control Gaming Addiction
Here is a gaming addiction help guide that you and your children can benefit from.
Its quite hard to go cold turkey. Set time limitations and make sure you stick to them.
IMPORTANT: Games for children on MentalUP are self-limiting, so this prevents technology addiction and reduces the time spent by children on the screen.
Prepared with the full support of child development experts and pedagogues, MentalUP limits the duration of daily use and offers parental control.
In this way, while children develop their cognitive skills with fun exercises, they are also away from the negative effects of technology and less likely to develop an online gaming disorder. In addition to that, parents can follow their child’s development on a daily basis.
Minimize the Number of Your Sources of Games
To resist the constant temptation, choose only one device to play games on – if you use a phone, a computer, and a console, get rid of games on all but one of them.
Choose Games that Require Physical Activity
Online gaming addiction wears out your mental energy while you still havent moved an inch. Playing games that will tire your body can help avoid long hours of play.
Stay Away from Your Phone
Addictive phone games can be more harmful simply because your phone is with you all day. Limiting the usage of your phone will prevent you from constantly playing games.
Find a Hobby
Finding a hobby almost always helps. Explore your opportunities.
Include Your Loved Ones