Gaming Disorder, Diagnosis and Treatment

Gaming Disorder is diagnosed and characterized by an uncontrolled and persistent desire to play videos and computers, which can be dangerous to a person’s well-being. Many mental health professionals believe that this game can lead to a different type of addiction by triggering behaviors that release dopamine and trigger something in the brain. The disorder can be diagnosed when a person engages in gaming activities and sacrifices daily activities or pursues other interests and is without regret for the negative consequences experienced.

Not all medical experts and psychologists agree on whether gaming addiction should be classified as a disorder. In the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013, “Internet Gaming Disorder” is defined as ‘A condition that requires clinical research and more experience before it can be considered an official disorder’ .

Explanation Regarding Gaming Disorder

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified gaming disorder in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). ICD 11 is a list of diseases and medical conditions that are used by health professionals to develop diagnoses and treatment plans. According to ICD 11, people with gaming disorder have difficulty controlling the amount of time they spend playing digital or video games. They also prioritize gaming over other activities and experience the negative effects of their playing behavior. WHO decided to classify this condition after reviewing several studies and consulting with experts. WHO claims that this classification will result in an increased focus on gaming disorders and their prevention and treatment. Gaming disorder shares similarities with Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD), which has been labeled by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) which does not currently recognize ED as an official condition. Also know aboutkinds of mental disorders , including narcissistic personality disorder , paranoid personality disorder as well as differences in bipolar and borderline .

Symptoms and Signs of Gaming Disorder

According to the WHO definition, a person who has a gaming disorder will exhibit the following characteristics.

  • Lack of control over their gaming habits for at least 12 months and showing a pattern.
  • Behavioral patterns should show an increase in prioritizing games over other activities and interests to the point that playing games has taken over everyday interests and activities.
  • A condition of increasing continued play even though there are negative consequences or behaviors that affect a relationship, education or work.

To get a diagnosis, the symptoms of this disorder must be so severe that they can affect a person’s family, social, personal, work and educational life. According to several studies, game addiction can also present with several mood disorders such as anxiety disorder, depression and stress. People who remain physically inactive for a period of time because of playing games may also have a higher risk of obesity, sleep problems and other health problems.

Gaming Disorder Diagnosis

WHO has defined gaming disorder as a disorder associated with addictive behavior in ICD 11. Addiction to games is in many ways similar to other types of addiction. People with this disorder often spend a lot of time playing games, have an emotional attachment to these behaviors and may experience fewer social relationships as a result. Like other addictions, gaming disorder can have negative effects on family life, relationships, work and education. This may offend those who criticize gaming, or cause guilt.

Although the WHO classification defines the behaviors that are likely to lead to a diagnosis of gaming disorder, it is not yet clear how medical professionals will evaluate this situation or behavior. Experts will likely need to perform several diagnostic tests such as using questionnaires and structured interviews to help determine whether a person has gaming disorder. They will likely use the same test to test the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale, a standard measure of computer and video game addiction.

In the United States, although it is not officially classified as an aberrant condition, the American Psychological Association lists several symptoms that lead to gaming disorder as follows:

  • Too intense focus on internet gaming
  • There are signs of deterioration when playing away from him, such as sadness, anxiety and irritability.
  • Not being able to play less, unsuccessful attempts to stop playing
  • Give up on other activities and lose interest in other activities that were previously enjoyable
  • Keep on playing even if it brings a lot of trouble and know the consequences.
  • Lying to family members or others about time spent playing
  • Using internet gaming to relieve negative moods such as guilt or hopelessness.
  • Risk or endanger work or relationships due to internet gaming.

To be diagnosed with gaming disorder, a person must have at least five of the above symptoms. In a 2017 study conducted in the US, UK, Canada and Germany, nearly 19,000 gamers completed a survey on the symptoms of gaming bias. More than 65% of the participants did not report any symptoms regarding gaming disorder. Only 2.4% of the sample met at least five symptoms that needed to be diagnosed. This means that the data obtained shows that the gaming disorder category is an unsuitable indicator of the real problem. Also know about the characteristics of bipolar disorder , dissociative identity disorder , and how to deal with body dysmorphic disorder .

Treatments For Gaming Disorder

Gaming disorder is such a new classification that there is no clear treatment plan. However, it is possible that treatments aimed at other behaviors such as gambling addiction may also be relevant for gaming disorder. Treatments for compulsive gambling behavior can include therapy, drugs, and self-help groups . According to a study conducted in 2017 on the treatment of internet gaming disorder, it may be useful to combine several types of treatments. In that study, the researchers used the following types of treatment:

  • Psychoeducation– This treatment involves educating a person or sufferer about gaming behavior and its effects on mental health.
  • Treatment as usual– It is possible to adapt addiction treatment to gaming disorder problems. Treatment is focused on helping sufferers control their desires, overcome irrational thoughts and learn problem-solving skills and problem-solving techniques.
  • Intrapersonal– This treatment helps people to explore their identity, builds self-confidence and increases their emotional intelligence.
  • Interpersonal– During this treatment, sufferers will learn how to interact with others by improving their communication skills and how to be assertive.
  • Family Therapy– If gaming disorder negatively affects relationships with others, family members may need to take part in some aspects of therapy.
  • Lifestyle changes– To prevent excessive game play, people should explore their skills and abilities, set goals for themselves, and find activities rather than simply finding games they like.

Some of the examples above are just some of the kinds of treatments. There are many possibilities that researchers will propose alternative treatments for gaming disorder and other accompanying conditions.

Gaming Disorder Risks

It’s not clear what percentage of the population has gaming disorder, but most studies have found that it accounts for between 1 percent and 10 percent of active game users. This means 9 out of 10 gamers can play without having a serious impact on their lives. Most studies of game addiction and its abuse have been conducted in adults, adolescents and young adults, and it has been found that these behaviors can affect all ages.

Research has also found that young boys and men are more likely to experience it than girls and young women. In a 2017 German study of the 12-25 year old age group, the game’s estimated deviation was 8.4% for men and 2.9% for women. It is not yet known whether this deviation manifests differently in women than for men. Experts still do not know whether children or adults who have experienced depression or anxiety are more likely to experience game addiction to compensate for running away from real life. But subsequent research has shown that gaming disorder isn’t just a symptom of the condition.

In fact, when a person becomes addicted to games, depression tends to increase and anxiety too. If he stops playing or stops addiction, the reverse pattern also applies. There is no doubt that some behaviors in gaming are problematic. Overplay has even resulted in death in some cases. But most people playing computer and video games need not worry too much.

Like most mental health problems, gaming disorder affects only a small number of the total population. We are not talking about people who play games when they are bored, or who enjoy playing games but manage their lives well. As long as playing the game does not affect a person’s mental or physical health, there is no negative effect from it. Gaming disorder is more about trying to understand that there are limits when a person’s behavior becomes too dysfunctional. Like depression, everyone experiences feelings of sadness but there comes a point where the sadness becomes too excessive and requires treatment to overcome it.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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