Sunday 23 September 2018 ,
Latest News
  • BNP leaders, B Chy, Dr Kamal share stage to gear up ‘unity process’
  • People skeptical about legal process of grenade attack case: BNP
  • 24 killed in Iran military parade attack
  • WB Vice President due Sunday
19 June, 2018 05:40:39 PM

Print

Gaming addiction is now 'officially' a disorder

Independent Online/ Times Of India
Gaming addiction is now 'officially' a disorder

With gaming addiction having been added to the already exhaustive list of disorders by the World Health Organization in ICD-11, experts all over the world are debating whether it was the right thing to do. Some are saying that the decision is not ‘properly informed’ while some think that it absolutely makes sense as even gaming can affect one’s 'social and occupational functioning'.

For parents who were finding it hard to get their children off this digital heroin, this may come as a backup. However, is gaming addiction a kids-only problem? Not really. Let’s start with the basics and understand how and why a thing as naive as gaming is being compared to drug and gambling addictions.

Features of gaming addiction

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, gave features that one must look at in order to diagnose and isolate gaming addiction behaviour.

First, “the gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery."
Second, an "impaired control of these behaviors. Even when the negative consequences occur, this behavior continues or escalates." According to the assembly, an addictive behaviour would be “persistent or recurrent" and has "sufficient severity".
Third, the condition leads to distress and impairs one’s personal, family, social, educational or occupational functioning. Some symptoms pointed out by Poznyak include, "disturbed sleep patterns, like diet problems, like a deficiency in the physical activity."
Fourth, the addictive and harmful pattern of behavior should last at least 12 months. "It cannot be just an episode of few hours or few days."

Prevalence of gaming addiction

“Psychologists all over the world are experiencing a sharp rise in the number of cases reported for the same. Whilst a while ago, one could have expected the condition to be prevalent majorly among adolescents, there is a rapid rise of such problems in a younger age group as well, thanks to the widespread use and availability of internet and gaming,” Nitika Kumar, counselling psychologist and a senior research fellow at Indian Council for Medical Research, said.

However, for the WHO, the overall prevalence of the condition is “very low”. Poznyak said that the disorder can only be diagnosed by health professionals “properly trained to do so”.

“Although the official criteria to be met demands significant and persistent problems in major areas of life that is work, leisure, self care and so on for at least 12 months, exceptions can be made for diagnosis if the condition is more severe,” says Nitika.

What is it that gaming fulfills?

When more and more young as well as adults are falling into the trap of gaming addiction, it is imperative to ask - why?
“There seems to be a myriad of problems behind such a rapid onset of technology induced disorders… Within families, there is lesser time spent talking and bonding to each other. Parents have lesser time and energies to offer to their children and by and large the whole mode of living for the modern men is isolated and aloof. Young children in such scenarios tend to copy their parents observed behaviour of increased and sustained screen time, even during family dinners. Added to this is their own isolation from mature bonds, which drives them to seek fulfillment of basic life drives through gaming,” says Nitika.

When looked at psychologically, “a sense of purpose. A sense of fulfillment in terms of achieving goals of reaching higher stages. It provides them with a distraction from lack of social connections on the outside. Human mind finds the screen time itself as very pleasurable since it stimulates their senses by providing them a host of sensory inputs simultaneously. For young people then it becomes the perfect way of distraction,” she adds.

Why the problem is not ‘kids-only’

Gaming is prevalent among teens and often associated only with them. However, more and more adults are also becoming hooked to games. In fact, it is very common for online games to come with ‘buy’ options. It is becoming commonplace only because they have adult audience, which has more disposable income to spend at gaming, against kids who may depend on their pocket-money. Being stressed at work, suffering in personal relationships or family issues can translate into behavioural addictions, besides substance addictions.

The addiction increases with time

Another very important facet of gaming addiction that Nitika points out is that just like any other addictive behaviour, gaming addiction is also a trap. “Just like when one is addicted to any other substance, like alcohol, one needs increasingly more amounts to keep them satiated, once one gets to gaming, they would need more and more of screen time to achieve the initial pleasure derived from gaming. It’s an expanding spiral. You enter it thinking I have all the control. But eventually, the game becomes more powerful.”

“Usually symptoms progress from milder ones such as gradual increase in number of hours spent on screens to more intense ones like isolation from friends, not talking to friends or not hanging out with them, withdrawal from family, aloofness, loss of appetite which might be very striking, changed sleep patterns and neglect of school and academic work. Sometimes, it might spiral into grave problems like total refusal of school and high irritability on being stopped from playing!” she adds.

Gaming - addiction or not?

“While the ICD-11 by WHO in its recent reports talks about gaming addiction as a recognised disorder, the DSM brought out by the American psychological Association is still categorising Internet gaming disorder as a condition for further study,” pointed out Nitika.
“While it is always easy to add another condition as a disorder to the already existing huge list of prevalent conditions, one must be very cautious of adding more and more conditions in the name of diagnostic clarity. While it may solve the purpose of a quick diagnosis for the clinician, a quick naming might aggravate the problems by giving us more “patients” while taking us away from the root cause of the problems. At times, more than the condition, it is the cause that needs to be dealt with,” says Nitika.

“For instance the actual problem faced by many young people who indulge in such behaviour is that of increasing sense of isolation and alienation, anxiety about being not good enough and so on. Merely categorising their condition as a separate disorder might not be a good idea, unless we wish to focus on the symptom rather than the cause,” she added.

Many other experts share a similar opinion to Nitika’s. An argument that is being put out is that gaming addiction arises out of underlying issues, such as anxiety, stress or depression. So, it may not be okay to deem it as an independent health condition.

However, for Dr Manu Tiwari, head, Mental Health and Behavioural Science, Fortis, Noida, it only make sense for gaming addiction to make it to the list because, “most of the addictive behaviours arise out of comorbid anxiety, stress or depression. When other diseases have made it to the list then why not gaming too? If gaming addiction affects one’s social and occupational functioning, then it is a disorder.”

Prevention and cure

In having recognized gaming addiction as a disorder, the WHO has its prevention or cure as its agenda. Poznyak said that the interventions or treatments for gaming disorder are "based on the principles and methods of cognitive behavioral therapy." Talking about what may come, he said that they intend to provide different types of support, including "psychosocial interventions: social support, understanding of the conditions, family support."

Nitika agrees and said, “As clinicians, we might not be in the need for another diagnostic label but we do need greater and more wider prevention based work for such conditions that seem to be an offshoot of modern day life.”

Talking about how the disorder can be prevented in the first place, she says, “Spend more time together as family. Set strict no-gadget rules for at least some time of the day and that should apply to children and parents alike. Make sure your kids get enough physical exercise and spend enough time outdoors. Without being too nosy, keep a tab on changes in your child’s behavior in terms of any signs of withdrawal or constant talking only about a certain game bordering on obsessional characters.”

As an adult who may be struggling with a gaming disorder, try to understand what is causing that addiction. Learn better ways to cope with stress, exercise and practise mindfulness techniques. If your problem is severe, seek expert guidance.

SI

 

Comments

Poll
Today's Question »
Do you think Jatiya Oikya Prakriya will be able to make the govt bow to its ultimatum for an electiontime neutral administration by Sept 30?
 Yes
 No
 No Comment
Yes 21.4%
No 71.4%
No Comment 7.1%
Video

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting