On June 18, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed gaming disorder as a condition in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases. Yep, video game addition is now an official new mental health condition. Wow!
According to WHO, the disorder “affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities.” So, how do you know if you’re part of that small percentage? The American Psychological Association reports that if you have five of the following symptoms, you may have a gaming disorder:
- Heavy focus on Internet gaming
- Withdrawal symptoms when Internet gaming is taken away (sadness, anxiety, irritability)
- Tolerence, the need to spend more time gaming
- Not being able to play less, unsuccessful attempts to quit playing
- Giving up other activities, and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Continuing to play despite problems
- Deceiving family members or others about the amount of time spent on Internet gaming
- The use of Internet gaming to relieve negative moods, such as guilt or hopelessness
If you believe you may be addicted to gaming, seek help. At this time, there’s not a free national hotline to call. I recommend you speak to a trusted adult in your life about your symptoms.