World Health Organization adds video game addiction to diagnostic manual

Lydia Fleming
December 29, 2017

The symptoms of "gaming disorder" are actually not all that different from a more traditional substance abuse disorder, save for the hangovers and physical withdrawals.

The disorder is characterised by "impaired control" with increasing priority given to gaming and "escalation", despite "negative consequences". So if you receive treatment for your gaming addiction, you could theoretically get it paid for through insurance, much like other forms of addictive behavior.

Such behaviour can be classified as a disorder if it is of "sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning".

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According to the marketing group NPD, video game console spending in the up 27 percent from previous year, up to $1.9 billion.

"With proposals to include "gaming disorder" in both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) and International Compendium of Diseases (ICD), the concept of video game addiction has gained traction". It is unclear if symptoms that involve problematic video gaming behavior should be reified as a new disorder, or are the expression of underlying mental conditions.

The rules are there to avoid addictive behavior.

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Video games have their place, but Prince limits them because she wants her boys to be active.

"We just don't think it's a good idea to let them spend hours playing video games", said Knoxville mother Meredith Prince. Should gaming addiction be treated as a mental health condition?

However, it's worth considering that in the modern video game industry, publishers and developers put huge amounts of money and effort into keeping players hooked and handing over their hard-earned cash; it perhaps shouldn't come as a surprise that this sometimes leads to damaging patterns of behavior.

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