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Residential Treatment Center for Boys Ages 14-18

 > Technology Addiction  > When the Fun and Games Go Overboard: Diagnosing A Gaming Disorder

When the Fun and Games Go Overboard: Diagnosing A Gaming Disorder

When the Fun and Games Go Overboard: Diagnosing A Gaming Disorder

Gaming disorder. It’s a thing. As of June 20, 2018, the World Health Organization classified “gaming disorder” as a diagnosable condition. So what does gaming disorder encompass and who does it impact? Here are the three defining criteria’s that one with gaming disorder exhibits:

  1.  A pattern of behavior for at least 12 months in which gaming is out of control
  2. The pattern of behavior must show an “increased priority given to gaming” to the point that gaming “takes precedence over other interests and daily activities.”
  3. A “continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences,” or behavior that affects one’s relationships, education, or occupation. This could mean that a teenager may play video games instead of doing homework and end up failing a test.

Some experts are hesitant to acknowledge “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition as they argue as the baseline of research is inconsistent. There is not a treatment plan in place currently. While it is being deemed as a mental health condition, plans to treat it like a mental health condition after diagnosis has not been made.

Defining the Disorder

The American Psychological Association has offered their own interpretation of a gaming disorder. The association proposes recognizing the following symptoms:

  • Heavy focus on Internet gaming
  • Withdrawal symptoms when Internet gaming is taken away (sadness, anxiety, irritability)
  • Tolerance, the need to spend more time gaming
  • Not being able to play less, unsuccessful attempts to quit playing
  • Giving up other activities, and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Continuing to play despite problems
  • Deceiving family members or others about the amount of time spent on Internet gaming
  • The use of Internet gaming to relieve negative moods, such as guilt or hopelessness
  • Risk, having jeopardized or lost a job or relationship due to Internet gaming

To be diagnosed with gaming disorder, a patient must exhibit at least five of the listed symptoms. The grounds for which this diagnosis was built is still quite unsteady. There are still a lot of debates and doubts concerning inconclusive results from research studies. The problem stems from determining whether or not this is an independent disorder or if it stems from other mental health issues.

Lessons Learned

According to one scholarly magazine, it is important that we accept gaming as a legitimate addiction. One experienced person tells an interviewer:

 I don’t think we as psychologists can be justified in saying gaming addiction doesn’t exist.

From my experience of researching it for over 10 years, I can tell you I am very sure that this is indeed a real addiction requiring professional help. 

If addiction is an evolving concept, being considered a mental illness, an official expansion of that concept would profoundly benefit people who clearly need help.

If someone realizes they have a problem, then they can start the recovery process. By informing your son about the dangers of addiction and how gaming disorder classifies as an addition, he will be encouraged to become more active in his life outside the gaming realm. 

Equinox RTC

Equinox is a residential treatment center for boys ages 14-18 who exhibit addictive behaviors. The program provides a relationship based and principle based level of intervention. Students will experience both positive and negative outcomes which will help them better learn how to navigate themselves in the real world.  There is also a focus on social and emotional awareness within the community. Students leave this program with a new sense of confidence and the skills they need to live happy, healthy lives. We can help your family today!

Contact us at (877) 279-8925 for more information.