Home Health A – ZG Gaming Disorder and Video Game Addiction: A Growing Concern in the Digital Age

Gaming Disorder and Video Game Addiction: A Growing Concern in the Digital Age

by @dmin@
Gaming Disorder and Video Game Addiction: A Growing Concern in the Digital Age

Video games are a widely embraced source of amusement enjoyed by millions globally. They can provide fun, challenge, social interaction, and relaxation. However, for some people, video games can become more than just a hobby. They can develop into compulsive and harmful behavior that interferes with their daily life.

What is gaming disorder?

Gaming disorder is a condition recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a type of behavioral addiction. It is defined as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior that takes priority over other interests and activities, despite negative consequences. Gaming disorders can affect a person’s physical, mental, and social well-being.

According to the WHO, gaming disorder is diagnosed when a person exhibits the following symptoms for at least 12 months:

  • Impaired control over gaming, such as difficulty starting, stopping, or limiting the time or frequency of gaming
  • Increasing priority is given to gaming, to the extent that gaming becomes more important than other aspects of life, such as family, friends, work, or school
  • Continuation or escalation of gaming, even when the person is aware of the negative effects of gaming on their life or the lives of others

Gaming disorder can involve playing any type of digital or video game, such as online, mobile, console, or computer games. However, most people who develop gaming disorder mainly play online games that involve interaction with other players, such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).

Gaming Disorder and Video Game Addiction: A Growing Concern in the Digital Age

What are the causes and risk factors of gaming disorder?

The exact causes of gaming disorders are not fully understood, but they may involve a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. Some of the possible factors that may contribute to gaming disorder are:

  • Genetic predisposition, such as having a family history of addiction or mental health problems
  • Personality traits, such as being impulsive, sensation-seeking, or having low self-esteem
  • Environmental influences, such as stress, peer pressure, or exposure to violence or aggression in games
  • The reward systems, such as the dopamine release that occurs when playing games, can create a sense of pleasure, achievement, or escape
  • Game design, such as the features that make games appealing, engaging, and addictive, such as goals, challenges, feedback, rewards, social interaction, and immersion

Not everyone who plays video games develops gaming disorder. However, some people may be more vulnerable or susceptible to gaming disorder than others. Some of the risk factors that may increase the likelihood of gaming disorder are:

  • Being young, especially in adolescence or early adulthood, when the brain is still developing and more prone to addiction
  • Being male, as studies have shown that gaming disorder is more prevalent among men than women
  • Having mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Having other behavioral addictions, such as gambling, internet, or social media addiction
  • Having poor social support, such as having few friends, being isolated, or being bullied
  • Having low academic or occupational performance, such as having difficulties in school or work, or being unemployed

What are the effects and complications of gaming disorder?

Gaming disorders can have serious and negative impacts on a person’s life, affecting their physical, mental, and social health. Some of the possible effects and complications of gaming disorder are:

  • Physical health problems, such as eye strain, headaches, neck pain, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, obesity, sleep deprivation, malnutrition, or cardiovascular disease
  • Mental health problems, such as mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, guilt, or suicidal thoughts
  • Social problems, such as isolation, loneliness, conflict, neglect, or loss of relationships with family, friends, or partners
  • Academic or occupational problems, such as poor performance, absenteeism, dropout, or loss of opportunities or career prospects
  • Financial problems, such as spending excessive amounts of money on games, in-game purchases, or equipment, or accumulating debts or legal troubles
  • Legal problems, such as breaking laws, rules, or contracts related to gaming, such as hacking, cheating, or piracy

How is gaming disorder diagnosed and treated?

Gaming disorder is not currently recognized as an official diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the main guide for psychiatric disorders in the United States. However, the DSM-5 includes internet gaming disorder as a condition that requires further research and study.

To diagnose gaming disorder, a health professional will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the person’s gaming behavior, as well as their physical, mental, and social functioning. The health professional will also rule out any other medical or mental health conditions that may explain or contribute to the gaming behavior.

The treatment of gaming disorder will depend on the severity and specific needs of each person. The main goal of treatment is to help the person regain control over their gaming habits and restore balance in their life. The treatment may involve a combination of the following approaches:

  • Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can help the person identify and change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to gaming, and develop coping skills and strategies to deal with stress, emotions, or triggers
  • Family therapy, can help the person and their family members understand and communicate better, and support each other in the recovery process
  • Group therapy or support groups can provide the person with a safe and supportive environment to share their experiences, challenges, and successes with others who have similar problems, and learn from each other
  • Medication can help the person manage any underlying or co-occurring mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD, that may affect their gaming behavior
  • Self-help, which can involve the person taking steps to reduce or stop their gaming, such as setting limits, keeping track, finding alternatives, or seeking help

How can gaming disorder be prevented?

Gaming disorder can be prevented by adopting healthy and responsible gaming habits and being aware of the potential risks and harms of excessive gaming. Some of the tips and strategies to prevent gaming disorder are:

  • Play video games for fun and enjoyment, not as a way to escape or cope with problems
  • Set realistic and reasonable goals and expectations for gaming, and do not let gaming interfere with your priorities and responsibilities
  • Limit the amount of time and money you spend on gaming, and stick to your budget and schedule
  • Balance your gaming with other activities, such as physical exercise, hobbies, or socializing
  • Choose games that are appropriate for your age, interests, and values, and avoid games that are violent, aggressive, or addictive
  • Be mindful of the effects of gaming on your body and mind, and take breaks, rest, and relax
  • Reach out for support if you observe any indications or manifestations of gaming disorder, or if gaming is exerting adverse effects on your life.


Gaming disorder is a serious and growing problem that can affect anyone who plays video games. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of gaming disorder and seek help if needed. Gaming disorder can be treated with professional help and support, and prevented with healthy and responsible gaming habits. Gaming can be a positive and rewarding activity, as long as it is done in moderation and balance.

Important Notice:

The information provided on “health life ai” is intended for informational purposes only. While we have made efforts to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the information presented, we cannot guarantee its absolute correctness or completeness. Before applying any of the strategies or tips, please consult a professional medical adviser.

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