The World Health Organization (WHO) recently listed “gaming disorder” as an official addictive behavior disorder. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) lists gaming disorder as a “pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences” (WHO, 2018). 

In order for gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of “sufficient severity” resulting in significant impairment in an individuals’ personal, familial, social, educational, occupational or other significant areas of functioning. The behavior pattern must be evident for at least 12 months.

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is: 

  • to the exclusion of other daily activities, 
  • to any changes in their physical health
  • to any changes in their psychological health 
  • to changes in social functioning 

Gaming disorder and gambling have similarities and can impact individuals in a plethora of capacities. The risk of gaming turning into gambling is the biggest trend and problem that we are facing in prevention. The Gaming industries are targeting youth and adult with free games, and once the player is ‘hooked’ they’ll ask the player to pay for the game or the skill level above the free one.

There are educational trainings, workshops, and programs offered within the state of Pennsylvania if you or your loved one may be affected.

Contact DBHIDS at 888-545-2600 and ask for the OAS Prevention Unit.

Learn more about video game addiction.