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Is "Internet Gaming" a Disorder?


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Is "Internet Gaming" a Disorder?

Article link: Last month, the World Health Organization (W.H.O) added Internet Gaming Disorder, or I.G.D, to its manual of psychiatric diagnoses. According to the manual, I.G.D. is defined as "A pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences." Many psychiatrists agree with the definition and state that they have treated patients matching the diagnosis, while others, including the American Psychological Association, take issue with the vague definition, and question whether the I.G.D. exists as a stand-alone issue, or if it is just a manifestation of other mental health problems. Several studies have been done regarding the disorder, but the results of most of the studies are not conclusive. For example, one study found that people diagnosed with I.G.D. and given an anti-depressant had depressive symtpoms decrease, but the study did not determine whether or not the gaming behavior actually changed for the better.

I personally think that research regarding video game addiction and overuse should continue, but I think there isn't enough data to define a new disorder yet. I think that people are eager to demonize video game playing, such as suggesting that it increases school shootings, when there is no evidence of that. However, I have seen people who play video games to the extent that it harms their quality of life. In some of thoses cases I think it's just a bad habit or bad routine, but I do think in some cases that either a mental illness such as I.G.D. is at play or there is another underlying cause (such as a bad home life, social anxiety, depression, etc.). I'm not sure how easy it would be to determine between the two, however.  What do you think? Is I.G.D. a real disorder, a manifestation of a different mental illness, or simply a bad habit?     


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