If your child is a Candy Crush Saga or Fortnite fanatic, he’s not alone.
In fact, according to a study by the Entertainment Software Association, 65 percent of American households are home to someone who plays video games regularly.
With gaming so easily accessible thanks to mobile devices and free-to-play games, it’s not surprising that gaming addiction is on the rise.
Some experts even say video games can have the same addictive qualities as drugs or alcohol.
What is gaming disorder?
The World Health Organisation just announced the addition of gaming disorder as a new illness.
They say it’s a potentially serious mental health condition.
Gaming disorder is defined by the patient giving increasing priority to online and offline gaming on any platform – mobile phones, tablets or console games – over other activities.
What else does it entail?
Simply playing a lot of video games doesn’t automatically mean someone has a problem.
With this disorder, gaming takes precedence over nearly everything else.
Kids with gaming disorder will play through meals, late into the night, and go days without bathing.
Their relationships, school, and work will suffer, and they’ll lie about how much they’re playing.
“As a result, they may lose valuable relationships,” says Scott Krakower, DO, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital, in Glen Oaks, New York, who specializes in treating teens with addiction disorders.
“They often develop a lack of motivation to complete tasks or set future goals.”
How long does it have to be going on for?
The behaviour has to be evident for at least 12 months.
It can’t just be a few hours or few days. Since it’s a clinical condition, the clinical diagnosis of a gaming disorder can only be made by a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
“Most other healthcare professionals will not have the knowledge or training to do it,” says Andrew J. Saxon, MD, a professor and director of the Addiction Psychiatry Residency Program at the University of Washington School of Medicine.