internet gaming disorder

The capabilities of modern-day technology could not have been imagined by most people three decades ago.  Computers used to be large enough to fill a room, and now they can fit into your pocket as a cell phone.  At one time, cell phones and computers were owned only by the elite.  

Currently, it would be unusual for anyone, regardless of class, not to have at least one of the aforementioned technologies.  As technology improved, so did the user experience for gamers.  Along with not anticipating future technological capabilities, our society was not able to predict the behavioral effects of video games on users.

Can playing video games too much affect your life in a negative way?

Playing video games can be a fun way to relax and unwind, but just like anything else, moderation is key. Too much gaming can have an adverse effect on one’s life. If you or someone you know is spending too much time online or playing video games, internet gaming disorder or IGD may be the cause.

Internet Gaming Disorder is a common problem in teens and adults who spend more of their time submerged in gaming or online than what’s considered healthy.  Gamers have been known to be so attached to games that they refuse to pause the game to use the restroom.  In the most extreme cases, there are reports of gamers losing their life due to playing for periods of time that compromised their health.

Do insurance carriers consider IGD diagnosable?

While the American Psychiatric Association’s official guidelines (also called the DSM-5) do not officially recognize Internet Gaming Disorder, insurance carriers consider it “diagnosable.” Many insurers cover therapy for excessive gaming.

The APA has established nine criteria for characterizing potential IGD:

  • 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

Many children, teens, and adults enjoy the occasional and healthy use of video games and technology. When occasional gaming turns into persistent use that interferes with daily life, that is when help for internet gaming disorder can be beneficial and sought out.

There are many forms that games come in such as:

  • Standard shooting style games
  • Arcade games
  • Multi-player role-playing games
  • Card games
  • Situational games
  • Social media

Whatever package excessive gaming comes in, there is help that can be found in the form of therapy.  CBT is the therapy modality of choice currently, but there is more research being done for the best way to manage the condition.

Removing the device is also a behavioral method that can be very effective. Facilities have been created specifically for the purpose of treating people with unhealthy attachments to video games. People suffering from Internet Gaming Disorder should seek out professional help to determine the best method for their individual case. (213) 433-2823