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What Is ‘Gaming Addiction’? What Are Its Symptoms & Treatment?

Gaming Addiction Gets Mental Disorder Tag | BoldSky

"Addiction is a special kind of hell; it takes the soul out of the addict and breaks the heart of everyone who loves them".

The above-mentioned quote is very true with regards to any kind of addiction, as it not only destroys the life of the addict, but also his near and dear ones, as they will also have to deal with the consequences.

Now, the minute we hear the word 'addiction', we normally associate it with addiction to vices such as alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, gambling, and even sex.

However, there are many other types of addictions which may not be very apparent, yet can be as devastating as addiction to alcohol or drugs.

For example, some people are addicted to stealing things which they do not need, and are just addicted to the thrill and release it gives them. This is also a very serious mental disorder known as kleptomania.

So, overindulgence of any action or substance can lead to addiction problems.

Addictions usually take over a person's life, as they are constantly obsessing over the things that they are addicted to.

Addictions of any kind may lead to the loss of health, money, relationships, and reputation of a person, as most addictions usually do have legal consequences.

Now, recently, many of us may have noticed in the news that WHO (World Health Organisation) classified 'gaming addiction' as a mental health condition.

Can gaming actually be that dangerous? Find out below.

What Is Gaming?

Firstly, 'gaming' here is in reference to computer games or games played on the electronic gadgets, such as phones, laptops, play stations, etc.

It does not refer to games played outdoors, such as sports of various kinds, which are, in fact, healthy.

Today, we see a lot of people, including kids as young as 6 years old to adults as old as 40, playing computer games and online games on their electronic gadgets.

To a layman, these games may seem like harmless fun, but in reality, gaming is making people reach unhealthy levels of addiction.

Children refuse to play sports outside and prefer to just stay indoors and game on their gadgets. This could make them physically unfit and may also cause eye problems and lack of concentration in school work.

While adults who are into gaming often become asocial and lonely, as they spend most of the time indoors with their gadgets. This habit can also make them unfit and may come in the way of their jobs and life in general.

It is noted by research studies that men are more prone to 'gaming addiction' compared to women, although there are a lot of female gamers who have experienced similar problems.

When Does Gaming Turn Into An Addiction?

Some of the symptoms of gaming addiction could be lack of control over time spent on gaming, giving gaming priority over other aspects of life such as education, job, relationships, etc., continued gaming even after facing certain negative consequences, continued addiction to gaming over a period of 12 months, impairment of personal life and relationships caused by excessive gaming, etc.

So, when a person is losing all the positive aspects of his/her life only for the sake of gaming and it is affecting his or her mental health, then, it can be categorized as an addiction.

As we read earlier, along with affecting the addicts themselves, addictions can have negative consequences on the people close to them too.

WHO's Take On Gaming Addiction

On the 18th of June 2018, WHO has classified 'gaming addiction' as a mental health condition and added it into the latest DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders) update.

This was done owing to the negative and obsessive nature of 'gaming addiction' and also because experts thought that this was a medical condition which needs attention and treatment.

Mental health experts have stated that cognitive behavioural therapy, de-addiction therapies, and medications can help bring this problem under control.

However, there are another set of experts in this field who are of the opinion that classifying 'gaming addiction' as a mental disorder may not be wise, as concrete research has not been conducted in this area to prove that it is a mental ailment.

However, the negative consequences on the life and health of a gaming addict could be enough for people to view this as a mental health condition, just so treatment can be sought.

If you or someone you know is showing any signs of 'gaming addiction', then, it would surely be wise to seek medical help, whether we completely believe that this is a mental health condition or not.

Read more about: gaming addiction health lifestyle
Story first published: Friday, June 22, 2018, 17:00 [IST]
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