Is Video Game Addiction a Disorder?
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
I know that I am late to the party in regards to this topic but better late than never.
It is to nobody's surprise that I am a fan of gaming. I play games pretty much on a daily basis. I love them so much that I write reviews about them on a weekly basis. Does that mean that I have an addiction? Let us find out.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization) they recently confirmed the following:
Gaming addiction classified as disorder by WHO. Gaming addiction is to be listed as a mental health condition for the first time by the World Health Organisation. Its 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will include the condition"gaming disorder"
I will be honest, I am surprised that it took so long for the WHO to classify this condition as being a disorder. What does it mean for gamers now? Some people scoffed at the notion that it can be considered an addiction and others like myself, think that, yes it is an disorder.
What is the definition of addiction? According to the Webster dictionary it is the following:
The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.
By the pure definition of addiction, gaming would fall in that category. Do I think that most players have an addiction to gaming? No I do not. The same way that I do not think that everyone that has a drink is an alcoholic. People have to be level headed here.
These are basic questions that you can ask yourself to see if you are addicted to something. In this case, it would be gaming.
Have you ever thought you should Cut down on your gaming?
Have you ever felt Annoyed when people have commented on your gaming habits?
Have you ever felt Guilty or badly about playing games for so long.
The questions about were modified as they were originally to see if you are addicted to drinking. I just removed the words drinking with gaming. See the difference is not that great.
There have been cases of people neglecting their kids in order to play StarCraft or World or Warcraft. There have been deaths for players playing games for so long without a break. I know that these are few and far in between but when we hear these cases, what do we ask ourselves? What were these people thinking? Well when you are addicted to something, you are stuck in a bubble and it is hard to get out. Gaming can fit very well in that. When gaming, it is not uncommon to feel like you are part of a world. In my case, I always had that with the Fallout series or Deus Ex series. However, I am able to step back and let it go. I do not have withdrawal or have any adverse affects. I just know that I will get back to it when I get back to it. For me I use it to relax. However, when you play a game and you are always stressed, there may be a problem there.
Am I surprised by this decision? No I am not. Anything can be an addiction and gaming does not get a free pass. Some players have to come to terms that they may have an addiction and that they may need some help.
Also when I say games, this is not just PC gaming or console gaming. This includes mobile games as well. People that spend thousands of dollars in in-app purchases so that they can get further in Candy Crush, are also included.
To answer my original question, do I think that I have an addiction? I can safely say that I do not. I can be weeks without playing games during the summer. I rather go drink a beer on a terrasse than to be stuck inside playing a game. Yeah I game on rainy days but if it is sunny, I try to enjoy it. I probably play more games during the winter. but if my wife asks me if I want to go for a walk and I am playing a game, I will in most cases take the walk. In any case, I probably need to the break. And no, I did not write this to get brownie points from my wife. :)
I guess some would argue that we should put people that listen to music or watch movies too much should have a place in the addiction list as well. However, I do not know of anyone who died from listening to too much music. If there is a case, please let me know.
What do you think? Was this the right call by the WHO to consider gaming addiction a disorder. let me know at the coordinates below.
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