Are you concerned that you or someone you love has a video game addiction? Is this a real diagnosis and is treatment available? Read on for answers to these questions and more about addiction to gaming.
- Video Gaming Addiction – Is It a Real Diagnosis?
- What are the Warning Signs of Video Game Addiction?
- Who is Most Likely to Develop a Gaming Addiction?
- What NOT to Do if You Are Concerned about a Loved One's Gaming Habits
- Where Can I Find Video Game Addiction Treatment Near Me?
- Answers to FAQ about Internet Gaming Addiction
Video Gaming Addiction – Is It a Real Diagnosis?
The concept of video game addiction is currently the topic of research in the world of psychology. The World Health Organization lists gaming addiction as a disorder in its medical reference book, International Classification of Diseases.
The DSM-5-TR lists “Internet Gaming Addiction.” It does not currently have it as a disorder, but recommends further research. The DSM-5 includes signs to look for that show a potential issue with video gaming, which are listed below.
What are the Warning Signs of Video Game Addiction?
- Thinking about gaming all or a lot of the time
- Feeling bad when you can’t play
- Needing to spend more and more time playing to feel good
- Not being able to quit or even play less
- Not wanting to do other things that you used to like
- Having problems at work, school, or home because of your gaming
- Playing despite these problems
- Lying to people close to you about how much time you spend playing
- Using gaming to ease bad moods and feelings
If you see 5 or more of these signs in one year for yourself or someone you love, then you should consider reaching out to a medical professional.
Who is Most Likely to Develop a Gaming Addiction?
Boys vs Girls
Currently, there needs to be more research done into which demographic groups are most at risk of developing gaming addiction.
Studies indicate that gaming addiction is more common in boys than in girls. Younger ages of children and teens are also more at risk, because they may develop unhealthy habits at an early and more formative age.
ADHD & Gaming Addiction
ADHD can be one of the causes that leads someone to issues with gaming. One of the main reasons for this is that people with ADHD hyper-fixate on things and can become fixated on video games.
This does not immediately mean there is an addiction, as ADHD hyper fixation can be short term, but it is important to watch and ensure that it does not grow into an unhealthy habit.
Autistic & Neurodivergent People – Playing Video Games
Autistic and other neurodivergent people have traits that make it so that video games can become addictive.
For people with autism, they may have a special interest in video games or a particular video game. Remember that you should never taken away an autistic person’s special interests, unless they are in danger. Instead, work with them to manage the interests in a healthier way.
Watch for an unhealthy focus on gaming or struggling to maintain balance with their regular lives.
What NOT to Do if You Are Concerned about a Loved One’s Gaming Habits
Are you concerned that your spouse or child is addicted to gaming? Here’s what NOT to do.
Do not immediately take away all access to video games. At the very least, taking away gaming should not be the first or only thing done.
Typically, overuse of gaming is a coping mechanism for something else happening in the person’s life. The best thing you can do for your loved one is talk to them.
There are a number of reasons they may be turning to gaming, usually because there is something stressful happening in their life that they are dealing with. Video games, just like other leisure activities, can help people let off stress and are a chance to escape from their daily stressors.
Video games also offer a sense of control because the player has control over what happens in the game and their actions have impact. This can be especially true for children with special needs who may be struggling in school or in their social lives.
Video games are chance for a person to feel like they have meaningful interactions and control over what is happening.
Gifted students often turn to video games because they feel unchallenged in school, and a video game will always continue to be challenging. Interactive games offer a chance to work hard to achieve something.
However, it’s still important to exercise caution about video game usage. Watch for signs of your loved reaching the point of being addicted to video games.
If you feel that video game usage is starting to affect other aspects of your loved one’s life, consider looking into ways to help them limit the video game usage. Encourage them to find other ways to spend their time.
Don’t punish your child or shut out your spouse emotionally for playing video games, but rather let games be a chance to relax.
Where Can I Find Video Game Addiction Treatment Near Me?
Get help from your doctor or therapist (or your child’s pediatrician, if the person you’re concerned about is your son or daughter) as soon as you think that gaming time is getting out of hand. If you are a parent, plan to be involved in the treatment because you can help support the treatment at home.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often used for gaming addiction. There may be support groups you can find near you, such as through Gaming Addicts Anonymous, which can serve as a helpful community to work through these issues.
Answers to FAQ about Internet Gaming Addiction
Here are answers to questions that are most often asked about addiction to gaming.
Video game addiction can be just like many other addictions, and as such can be a scary thing to handle for yourself or loved ones in your life. Know that there are resources out there to help you get through this challenging time and find a way to move forward.