Video game addiction or Gaming addiction is a newly identified process addiction marked by compulsive playing of computer and video games which interferes with the quality of an individual’s life. The MMORPG games which mean “massively multiplayer online role-playing games” like World of Warcraft have been linked to incidences where the player becomes so obsessed with compulsively role-playing in cyberspace that they withdraw from their real lives and focus almost entirely on cyber relationships and in-game achievements rather than real life circumstances.
In a number of countries, like Australia, for example Fortnite gaming addiction has seen a growing number of psychologists now specialising in treatment for gaming addiction. In fact, so many psychologists are now specialising in treatment for gaming that gaming rehabilitation and treatment centres have been established in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Video Games Coalition, an industry lobby group, told NBC News recently in a statement that the products they represent are “enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide.”
A lobby group for the video gaming industry says more than 2 billion people worldwide enjoy gaming “safely and sensibly” The group is calling for media, specifically WHO to re-examine their assessment, adding that studies have shown video games could have “educational, therapeutic, and recreational value.”
For the past decade, the ICD has been used by physicians, researchers and health insurers as a reference work of some 55,000 diseases, injuries and causes of death. This latest version, the ICD-II will be presented to member states at their annual World Health Assembly this month, and will go into effect officially in January 2022.
The World Health Organisation says “gaming disorder” is “as a pattern of gaming behaviour characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
“For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.”
However, simply spending a lot of ones spare time gaming doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual is addicted to gaming. According to the Centre for On-Line Addiction, warning signs for video game addiction include:
- Need to play for increasing amounts of time
- Persistent thoughts about gaming during other activities
- Gaming to escape from real-life problems, anxiety, or depression
- Lying to friends and family to conceal gaming
- Feeling irritable when trying to cut down on gaming
- Isolating and withdrawing from activities previously enjoyed
- Committing illegal acts to sustain activity
- Relying on others to finance activity
While video game addiction treatment is still a new field and research is currently being conducted in the initial stages of the area. In conclusion, if you’re somebody who believes it’s a very real and growing issue, the most effective treatments appear to be psychotherapy or talk therapy and medication for if necessary for anxiety or depression. 12 step programs can also be very helpful for identifying triggers and new ways of relating to others.
Since gamers are exceptionally computer savvy, a non profit organisation called On-line Gamers Anonymous was formed in 2002. It is a 12 step self help support organisation for individuals suffering and recovering from the negative effects of compulsive and excessive computer game playing. They provide online support meetings, message boards and other tools for healing.