Video Game Addiction To Be Recognized As Mental Disorder: Here's What To Do If You Think You Have It

By Aaron Mamiit | Dec 27, 2017 09:15 AM EST

Video game addiction is a serious issue, but thankfully, there are many options to pursue for gamers who think they have it.

Gaming disorder will soon be classified as a legitimate mental health condition by the World Health Organization. The recent report placed video game addiction in the spotlight, which will hopefully allow more victims of the condition to be treated.

WHO To Classify Gaming Disorder As Mental Health Condition

Video games have several benefits, including helping with dementia prevention and memory boosts. However, gaming also has a much darker side to it.

The World Health Organization will release the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases in 2018. A draft of the document, however, reportedly adds gaming disorder as a mental health condition.

According to the draft, a person is said to have a gaming disorder if they prioritize gaming over all other life interests. In addition, a person with gaming disorder will continue playing video games even if his or her mental health is at risk, including proper sleep and nutrition.

Simply put, gaming disorder means video game addiction is so severe that it poses as a significant problem to the individual's personal and professional life.

How To Tell If You Have Gaming Disorder

One possible way to determine if a person's love for video games has already become a gaming disorder is through the CAGE questions, which are often used for detecting alcohol addiction, suggested Forbes' Bruce Lee.

The four questions are: Have you ever felt you should cut down on your gaming? Have people annoyed you by criticizing your gaming? Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your gaming? Are video games usually the first thing you think about in the morning when you wake up?

In addition, gamers should check whether the time spent on playing video games has increased over time and if it has resulted in changes in mood and other habits. Another important factor is to look at the duration of the behavior. There is a difference between a short-term binge and a long-term mental health condition.

What To Do If You Are Addicted To Video Games

Treatment for gaming disorder is similar to other kinds of addiction, with counseling and behavior modification as the main methods. However, unlike drug and alcohol addiction, video game addiction is tied to computers, which is a part of everyday life. This means that video game addiction is more like food addiction, with regulation instead of abstinence seen as a better way of handling it.

Gamers who think that they may have gaming disorder are recommended to consult with a psychologist or mental health professional to discuss possible treatment options. Meanwhile, family members are recommended to look up simple yet effective ways to support their loved ones with mental health conditions.

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