Internet Gaming Disorder – Should You Be Worried?

Internet Gaming Disorder has been a thing since 2019. Being added to “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” 5th edition, the closest comparison medically is gambling addiction. With treatment centres popping up here and there, is there actually anything in the diagnosis?

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Internet Gaming Disorder
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Internet Gaming Disorder – Should You be Worried?

From sleep deprivation to ignoring day to day tasks, both mainstream media and world leaders have been trying to pigeonhole negative behaviour as a result of gaming for years. The truth is that too much of anything good can also be a bad thing, but what are the facts behind Internet Gaming Disorder?

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Internet Gaming Disorder sufferers need to be displaying the following symptoms:

  • Preoccupation with video games
  • Experiencing unpleasant symptoms whilst playing video games
  • The need to spend increased amounts of time playing a video game
  • No control over how long a gaming session lasts for
  • Losing interest in other activities 
  • Continuing to play video games with the knowledge that they are causing problems
  • Deceiving loved ones and professionals when referring to gaming habits.
  • Using games to escape negative feelings
  • Harming and losing personal relationships, jobs, and opportunities.
Internet Gaming Disorder
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How are games made?

Figuring Out Internet Gaming Disorder

The problem with the above criteria is how general each symptom is. Every person playing a video game is preoccupied because they are concentrating on it, although gamers shouldn’t ignore any negative health symptoms when playing. Having instances of anxiety attacks or headaches when playing for example isn’t normal, make sure to seek medical advice if this is the case.

The need to spend more time on a video game should also come with the realisation that there are other things to be done too. Ignoring day to day tasks as an adult and not having a balanced lifestyle as a gamer is unhealthy both physically and mentally. 

It’s also fun to book a day off work and playthrough that new release that’s been anticipated for the last four years. What we’re trying to say is spats of this symptom are not a bad thing, but continuous displays of this behaviour aren’t healthy.

Internet Gaming Disorder
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Saying up a little bit later than usual on the odd weeknight isn’t going to cause any significant damage to a gamer or anyone else for that matter. However, having no apparent control of when to put a game down is an obvious sign of addiction if it’s a regular occurrence. 

This is a point that could be misunderstood by children. For example, most kids really don’t want to stop playing video games when told they’ve had enough time on them. Notice how they’re exactly the same when telling them it’s time to leave the park or it’s time for bed also? Gaming is a self-indulgent treat for enthusiasts of any age, and it should be treated as such. 

Are video games bad for you?

Another issue is prioritising gaming over other activities such as band practice, a martial arts lesson or meeting up with friends. There are plenty of scenarios where alarm bells are ringing, but let’s apply a bit of logic to this point. Sometimes people want to change plans if they’ve had a hard day at work or they just want a bit of downtime. This is fine on occasion, but it’s more worrying when this is happening daily or regularly.

PC Gaming Setup
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Balancing Commitments And Gaming

If it becomes harder and harder for the person in question to come up with reasons why they shouldn’t be doing a certain activity and just gaming, they could start deceiving loved ones and professionals. Again, we must stress that this is simply one of the apparent symptoms of Internet Gaming Disorder and not our own views, so bear with us.

Like any form of addiction, it may cause your own loved ones or patients to lie to you about how their issues with gaming are going and may make out they’re coping and working on it better than they actually are.

Gaming is a form of escapism, any form of entertainment is, which is actually quite healthy. Escapism comes in many forms such as people taking on a hobby, exercising, reading, listening to music, and of course, gaming.

Life is stressful, and often hard, so people need some form of escapism to press that reset button in their head and to take it easy on themselves for a while. However, completely ignoring life and letting it pass by is the extreme end of Escapism. The darker side of escapism is also seen in many of the examples we’ve spoken about already. Like gaming, Escapism should be enjoyed in moderation for a positive life and mental health balance.

Long story short, gaming should be enjoyed in moderation like all good things. If that’s not the case either personally or with another person and this all sounds very familiar, it might be an idea to seek medical advice. 

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If any of the topics discussed in this article have negatively impacted you, there are people out there who can help.

Safe in our World
The Calm Zone
Mental Health America

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