Can Gaming be Addictive?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), gaming addiction is recognized as “Gaming Disorder” in the term of International Classification of Diseases (ICD-II).  

As simple as it might sound, does this gaming addiction applies to all the gamers who are playing games as a hobby or to play it professionally? Although billions of people play games on a daily basis, the majority of them are actually are not having the problem and it is estimated that only 3% – 4% are having this kind of problem.  

i) How it could happen?  

From the scientific and physiological research, anyone who is having five or more of these signs for at least one year are classified as addicted to playing games. Hence, if you are among them, the answer is you are among the 3% – 4% of people who are addicted to gaming.   

And below are the signs to look for;  

  • Thinking about gaming a lot of times.  
  • Feeling bad if can’t play games.  
  • Need to spend more time playing games in order to feel good.  
  • Unable to quit playing games or even to play less.  
  • Do not have the intention to do other things that you like.  
  • Having a problem at school, work or at home because of gaming.  
  • Keep on playing games despite having these problems.  
  • Lying to people on how much you spend playing games.  
  • Using games to ease a bad mood.  

ii) Cases of people addicted to gaming  

Around the world, there are a lot of cases of gaming addiction that we could take as an example. Below is an example that we could observe happen all around the world;  

  • A 15-year-old boy lives in Australia having a gaming addiction and skipping schools. He played video games almost for 16 hours per day for over three weeks. In order to skip school, he told his teacher that he was having surgery.  
  • This case happens in Beijing. One student is so into World of Warcraft and decided to be a fire mage. He is so into his character that he actually lit his classmate on fire.  
  • One South Korean man died from playing games. The man collapsed and died from heart failure after playing video games from three days in a row.   
  • In 2004, a Chinese boy commits suicide after playing World of Warcraft for 36 hours. The reason behind it is because he wanted to join the heroes of the game.   
  • A 17-year-old boy murdered his mother and injured his father when their parents refuse to let him play his game, Halo 3.   

iii) How to treat gaming addiction  

Compared to any other addiction disorders out there, gaming addiction might not seem serious, however, the effects that it brings still give a negative impact on someone’s life.  

Generally speaking, in order to treat gaming addiction problem, one should;  

  • Set the time limit to play games and stick with it  
  • Do other activities other than gaming every day as for example, exercising.  

If you find it is difficult to do it alone, you could always ask for help from either your spouse, siblings, parents or even your friends. Plus, there is also an online peer support community that has hundreds of free videos, a community forum and programs for gamers. This online site could be found at Game Quitters.  

If all still fail, do not hesitate to look for professional help; doctor or therapist. Getting professional help will most likely increase the likelihood of you to recover from this gaming addiction. 

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