Has anyone ever accused you of playing too many video games or spending too many hours each day in front of the game console? If gaming has a negative impact on your life, there is a chance that it might be considered a mental disorder along the same lines as drug addiction. While it has not done so yet, the World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that it will include “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) in 2018.
What Are the Characteristics of Gaming Disorder?
In its beta draft of the ICD-11 codes that will be released this year, the WHO classifies “gaming disorder” under the category of “disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors.” Further details indicate that gaming disorder will be listed alongside gambling disorder, which may involve either online or offline behavior.
The ICD is a guide that includes codes for diseases as well as signs and symptoms of those diseases that can be used by researchers and medical providers to diagnose and track a disease.The new guide suggests that abnormal gaming behavior should be evident for a period of at least 12 months prior to diagnosis, but that this period can be shortened if the symptoms are severe. The symptoms include:
- Impaired control over gaming (duration, frequency, intensity)
- Gaming given an increased priority
- Continuation of gaming or even escalation despite negative consequences
Why Gaming Addiction and Drug Addiction Often Occur Together
There are only a few studies that look at the link between gaming and drug addiction, but the results are not encouraging. The journal Comprehensive Psychiatry has the most notable study, which found that the area of the brain that regulates the desire to use drugs and play video games is the same. In essence, both activities release the feel-good chemical dopamine in the brain, which leads the user or gamer to repeat the activity for additional rewards.
Yale University also released a study in 2011 that revealed some health risks linked to high levels of gaming. The study primarily looked at the habits of adolescents and found that approximately 4.9 percent were unable to cut back on their gaming time. It was this same group that that also had other issues such as depression, school problems, cigarette smoking, and drug use.
Where to Turn For Quality Addiction Treatment
Some are unhappy about gaming disorder being given an official classification while others believe that it is a good thing because it opens up opportunities for more specialized addiction treatment. Those suffering from a gaming disorder, including loved ones, may not have been taken seriously in the past when the fact is that any sort of addiction can impact relationships, jobs, education, finances, and health.
If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with an addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Contact us now to speak with an addiction specialist about how a comprehensive addiction treatment program can be tailored to fit your specific needs.You do not have to suffer a moment longer. Begin your recovery journey today.