The World Health Organization (WHO), has included “gaming disorder” to the International Classification of Diseases. So what is gaming addiction?
According to WHO a gaming disorder is described as:
“a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.”
Does everyone who plays video games have a gaming addiction? Clinical Psychologist Dr. Maneet Bhatia says no.
“We don’t want to over pathologize and say just because you are playing video games, you have an addiction, you have a mental health issue. Video games is a very normal part of society especially online gaming and internet base gaming.”
So what signs should we be watching out for?
“The main thing to ask yourself, is this a symptom of a larger problem? Maybe your child or your family member has been more down lately, sad or anxious and relying on video games as a way to cope and find supports. …We are looking for signals of impairment in their daily functioning social issues, relationship problems, avoiding work, education pursuits are being avoided.”