Video games addiction

   A while back I’ve approached the addictions topic, but not from a pathological point of view. It seems that the decision to include this video game addiction in their diseases classification (ICD), World Health Organization (WHO) provoked lots of discussions.

   According to WHO, the behavior of playing video games can be defined as a “disease” if it comes with the following three characteristics:

   “[..]the lack of control of playing video games, priority given to video games over other interests, and inability to stop playing video games even after being affected by negative consequences. [..]” – Wikipedia

   In the same time, American Psychiatric Association (APA) did not recognize it as a disorder due to the lack of solid evidence, and they categorized this phenomenon as “condition requiring further study”.

   Who is right? I don’t know, but in my opinion, this can create both positive and negative outcome. As a positive side, this thing draws attention and with this attention we might have more studies and more insights about this issue. Further more, being recognized as a problem, we might have more solutions. Also, I believe it’s a problem as long as other aspects of those people’s lives are impacted in a negative way.

   The down side is that people tend to exaggerate so any person playing some video games can be seen as a sick person if the ones that see that behavior think the playing time is too much.

   “APA has developed 9 criteria for characterizing the proposed Internet gaming disorder:

  1. Pre-occupation. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about games even when you are not playing, or planning when you can play next?
  2. Withdrawal. Do you feel restless, irritable, moody, angry, anxious or sad when attempting to cut down or stop gaming, or when you are unable to play?
  3. Tolerance. Do you feel the need to play for increasing amounts of time, play more exciting games, or use more powerful equipment to get the same amount of excitement you used to get?
  4. Reduce/stop. Do you feel that you should play less, but are unable to cut back on the amount of time you spend playing games?
  5. Give up other activities. Do you lose interest in or reduce participation in other recreational activities due to gaming?
  6. Continue despite problems. Do you continue to play games even though you are aware of negative consequences, such as not getting enough sleep, being late to school/work, spending too much money, having arguments with others, or neglecting important duties?
  7. Deceive/cover up. Do you lie to family, friends or others about how much you game, or try to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you game?
  8. Escape adverse moods. Do you game to escape from or forget about personal problems, or to relieve uncomfortable feelings such as guilt, anxiety, helplessness or depression?
  9. Risk/lose relationships/opportunities. Do you risk or lose significant relationships, or job, educational or career opportunities because of gaming?”

Source – Wikipedia

   I like how APA is approaching this and it’s not jumping to conclusions without more research. Almost anything can be seen as an addiction if it is too much and I really hope that people won’t see video games as the devil from now on.

   What’s your opinion about this?

21 thoughts on “Video games addiction

  1. They say too much of anything isn’t a good thing. I don’t have the links, but I did see an article on how gaming can be positive for the brain when it comes to strategizing and facing challenges. Some believe anything can become an addiction over time, but whether the APA considers this is another thing. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading! I agree. It’s all about balance. It is also said that a glass of red wine now and then can help, but a glass, not a bottle/

      1. @Synna Coal There is truth to “Too much of anything isn’t a good thing.” It’s just like blowing a balloon until it couldn’t hold out the air anymore that it would explode. Video games can become dangerous if that is the case. But what should people address is the root cause. Why did it become an addiction in the first place?

        But if you have a healthy habit of playing video games, you can actually reap benefits from it. –>

        @DM Very informative post! Thanks.

  2. As a parent, I can tell you the struggle is real. Especially for my ADHD son. He gets that instant gratification his brain craves. I’m at the point I’ve thought about taking the game systems out of my house. But do I punish my older boy who has no problem walking away? (Most of the time). School is about to start, so this will be put on the back burner and given as reward.

    1. Try dosing it (for example, from 5 hours per day to 4 hours per day for a week/month and so on until it gets to a more “normal” level).

  3. It seems to me that there is a spectrum of addiction, regardless of the substance. It is therefore realistic to believe that some people are, in fact, addicted to video games, while many others are not – in the same way that some people are addicted to alcohol, but many other users are not.

    The aspect of addiction that has always interested me the most is the cause behind it – what makes some people more vulnerable to addiction than others? What healthy outlet can fill the void that addiction soothes? Video games offer an enticing combination of sensory input & distraction.


  4. It’s also hard to be on the other side of this. I often feel neglected, feel like I am part of the furniture, because the other person only finds gaming enticing enough to occupy his minutes.

    1. Yes, that’s an aspect I haven’t considered when creating this post. I’m wondering why is the other person playing video games… what is that person trying to escape from (if that is the case)?

  5. I have a different view of addiction. After I gave up weed recently, I went back to excessive gaming. In the meantime, I went overboard with un healthy eating. Prior to this, there had been Netflix periods, porn periods, chasing women periods, and pretty much anything available. It wasn’t until I began addressing addiction as a symptom of deep rooted dependency/co-dependency from early childhood as disorders. Not getting a fix, especially when my life is boring, can bring on a mixture of depression and anxiety/tension, which can be relieved by binging some sort of an escape/activity or by manipulating my neurochemistry. Just getting drunk out on town is perhaps the most common form for escapism?
    Either way, I think the majority of society has become dopamine addicted from the use of smartphones, tablets, and ai/algorithms, not least on social media.

    1. Yes, I agree. There are multiple addictions (some of them might not seem as addictions) and everybody has one… the reason behind them is important.

      1. Indeed! I wonder a a lot about what it is. Just being with supportive and positive people can clear out some of the discomfort. Lack of resistance to discomfort and the depressive anxiety one can’t be in charge of themselves in the future? Or some covert burden from the past?

      2. I believe that every addiction comes from a form of anxiety so the same addiction can have different types of anxieties at its root.

  6. I’m a long-time gamer. There have been times where I have felt like I was addicted, but I’ve only experienced symptoms 4 and 8. However, I’m sure a handful of my friends experience far more of these symptoms. Some of them literally game from the time they get off work until they go to bed, and then all through the weekend. I’d be interested in seeing more research on this in the future.

  7. That’s pretty interesting. When I was a child, my mom swore I was addicted to video games, which I clearly was, but it just kind of vanished over the coarse of a few years. I’ve gone from playing 12 hours a day everyday to maybe 2 hours a week. Maturity might have something to do with it, but I’m not sure on a psychological perspective.

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