Gaming Addiction

Always at Our Fingertips

Between computers, gaming consoles, and cell phones, games are within reach for nearly everyone at any time. For some it’s a harmless pastime, but for others it may become a serious problem or even an addiction.

Internet Gaming Disorder

The World Health Organization recognizes Internet Gaming Disorder (also referred to as Gaming Disorder) as a mental disease related to social anxiety and other addictive behaviors. It is characterized by a severe preoccupation with gaming that takes precedence over common daily activities, leading to dysfunction in relationships, education, and occupational responsibilities.

Recognizing the Signs

People suffering from Gaming Disorder may exhibit the following symptoms evident for a minimum of 12 months:

  • • Preoccupation with gaming
  • • Withdrawal symptoms when gaming is taken away or not possible (sadness, anxiety, irritability)
  • • Tolerance, the need to spend more time gaming to satisfy the urge
  • • Inability to reduce playing, unsuccessful attempts to quit gaming
  • • Giving up other activities, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities due to gaming
  • • Continuing to game despite problems
  • • Deceiving family members or others about the amount of time spent on gaming
  • • The use of gaming to relieve negative moods, such as guilt or hopelessness
  • • Risk, having jeopardized or lost a job or relationship due to gaming

What Can We Do?

While it’s common to be concerned for the well-being of a loved one who seems to be gaming too much, studies suggest that Gaming Disorder only affects a small portion of those who engage in digital gaming activities. If there is a concern that you or a loved one is developing an unhealthy attachment to gaming there are some practical guidelines you may try:

  • • Determine a schedule for game play
  • • Develop healthy coping strategies that don’t include gaming or screen time
  • • Intentionally engage in hobbies or interests
  • • Have a trusted loved-one monitor game time
  • • Don’t sleep in the same room as gaming devices
  • • Join a recovery group
  • • Seek help from a mental health professional

Resources

Learn more about gaming disorder by clicking on the links below.