What is Internet Gaming Disorder?
Statistics reveal that 160 million American adults play internet-based games. These games are so entertaining and one can get completely drawn into them, the problem arises when they turn addictive. It’s estimated that .3–1.0 percent of people who play these games may get addicted. In 2017, the American Psychiatric Association termed this Internet gaming disorder (IGD).
Addiction to gaming is similar to other types of addictions that one may come across. Those suffering from IGD tend to spend many hours on gaming and are unable to get of it, sometimes even going without sleep at night to pander to their addiction. They have a strong emotional attachment to gaming.
WHO has specified that for an IGD diagnosis, a person must exhibit the following symptoms for at least a period of 12 months. These include putting gaming above all other interests and activities, losing control over gaming habits and not giving up or reducing time gaming despite facing its negative consequences. To be diagnosed as IGD, gaming must affect family life, social life, personal life, work or study.
An inability to quit and withdrawal symptoms when internet gaming is removed are other symptoms. Gaming also might be used as a means to relieve other negative moods such as depression, hopelessness and despair.
Different types of treatment methods are usually combined. Psycho-education is given to those with this disorder where they are taught about gaming behaviors and their impact on mental health. Intrapersonal therapy will be given where they will be taught to build self-confidence, find their identity and improve emotional intelligence. They will also be taught interpersonal skills to build their relationships with others.
To prevent getting back into the addiction, they are taught to change their lifestyle. They are encouraged to try new skills and hobbies. The family is also counseled.