Mental Disorder Associated With Video Gaming?

mental disorder

The WHO listed mental disorder associated with video gaming as a serious condition. Video gaming will be in the International Classification of Diseases Manual. Health professionals can now determine if someone’s gaming has became a health condition. The upcoming 11th update of the diagnostic manual called ICD-11 is set to publish in 2018.

For one, if a person gives priority to gaming over other life interests, it could be considered a gaming disorder. According to the University of Bergen, Norway study, excessive gaming is a defense mechanism to cope with an underlying psychiatric disorder. The video addiction to gambling and cyber pornography is common in young single men. Women are prone to social media, texting, and online shopping. Health care workers and doctors can now diagnose someone with this condition.

The American Psychological Association claimed that playing video games can impact a child’s learning, health, and social skills. Even games with violence may have some benefits. For example, action video games could improve cognitive skills, perception, and reasoning.  A shooter video game can even improve spatial skills and academic courses, according to one study.

Does Everyone Who Likes to Play Video Games Have Gaming Disorder?

Not everyone who plays video games has gaming disorder. Many of the people who drink do not have an alcohol problem either. According to Forbes, “video games can be a safe way of improving hand-eye coordination, enhancing problem-solving abilities, relieving stress, connecting people, and living out fantasies.” Research also shows that gaming can quicken decision making.

Gaming only becomes a problem if it impairs a person’s personal, social, educational, and other aspects of life. The mental disorder associated with video gaming must be evident for 12 months, less if the symptoms are severe. Signs include gaming getting in the way of a job, school, or spending time with family and friends.

The WHO has not defined in the manual how many gaming hours are excessive. It does not recommend a specific treatment either. This mental disorder is under the substance abuse and addictive behaviors category section. Whether video gaming is a mental disorder or not is still a major debate, particularly if the amount of time a person plays daily is a factor.

Mental Disorder Not Included in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

In the 2013 edition of the DSM-5, it was only noted that the internet gaming disorder was a condition for further study. At that time, people spent 6.3 hours per week playing video games.

Many well-adjusted individuals play video games, and they do not have a mental disorder. Gamers believe that video gaming is akin to hobbies or professions. Most of them think that this is not a problem, but healthcare professionals and insurance companies will recognize this as a disorder. Any activity can become a mental health issue if a person cannt control the activity. Moderation is key.

By Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Jeanette Smith


USNews – Excessive Video Gaming to be Named Mental Disorder by WHO
Forbes – Do You Have Video “Gaming Disorder,” A Newly Recognized Mental Health Condition?

Image courtesy of JÉSHOOTS Pexel’s Page – Creative Commons License

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