INTERNET GAMING DISORDER and OTHER COMPUTER-RELATED
(This description refers to non-gambling computer
games. Gambling games on the computer
are still considered gambling, and excessive computerized gambling is a
gambling disorder, long recognized by behavioral health professionals (at least
since 1980) as a diagnosable mental health disorder.)
is an Internet Gaming Disorder or Other Computer-Related “Addiction”?
gaming disorder is not yet a formal diagnosis recognized by mental health
professionals. It is listed in the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V, the
manual of mental disorders used by professionals, insurance companies, and
others to define mental disorders) as a “condition” requiring further research
to determine if it is a disorder or not.
Nevertheless, the DSM-V did write up Internet Gaming Disorder with the
same format, and it that material which was utilized and adapted for this
We also saw it as
important to broaden the DSM-V definition to include “Other Computer-Related
Addictions” because COD students have told Student Health Services that a
significant cause of their sleeplessness and other problems is the excessive
time spent on the computer with games, social media, and movies, time that cuts
into sleep and causes significant dysfunction in their lives.
Gaming Disorder or Other Computer-Related “Addictions” involve the persistent and
recurring use of the Internet/computers to engage in games, social media,
movie/video watching, often with other persons, leading to clinically
significant impairment or distress as indicated by preoccupation with Internet
gaming, posting, tweeting, etc.; withdrawal symptoms when computer access is
taken away; tolerance – the need to spend more and more time on the computer;
unsuccessful attempts to control computer use; loss of interest in other
hobbies or activities; continued excessive use even in the face of and
knowledge of the psychosocial problems it is causing; deceiving other about the
amount of computer gaming; using the Internet to “escape” or relieve a negative
mood; jeopardizing or losing a significant relationship, job, or educational
opportunity because of participation in Internet games or social media or
watching excessive numbers of films or videos.
Another important result? --- lack of adequate sleep.
they are surveyed, COD students inform Student Health Services that a significant
cause of their inadequate sleep is computer activity, activities such as
continuous viewing of Netflix and other movie and video sites, and to a lesser
extent computer games and social networking.
This continuous “addiction” to movie video feeds results in lack of
sleep, with all the attendant effects of insomnia. (See the mental health topic “Insomnia” on
this site for more information and details on the negative effects of
things put a person at higher risk of experiencing an Internet Gaming Disorder
or Other Computer-Related “Addiction”?
factors such as computer availability, tablets, smartphones increase the risk
for this disorder. Adolescent males seem
to be at greater risk of developing these disorders, and “it has been
speculated [in the DSM-V] that Asian environmental and/or genetic background is
another risk factor, but this remains unclear.”
Other risk factors may include being stressed, anxious, or depressed;
other addictions; lack of social support; unhappy childhood; and/or becoming
less mobile or social active than previously, as well as adult
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
an Internet Gaming Disorder or Other Computer-Related “Addiction” be treated?
Gaming Disorder or Other Computer-Related “Addiction” can be treated. Cognitive behavioral therapy may be
first we need to consider what is a healthy use of technology devices. That is
the crucial question. Who is really in charge of your life? That is what one
needs to ask oneself if one is to have any chance of breaking up delusions
about use of technology. When one can live happily without using so much
technology for a day or a week, then he or she can regain control and personal
freedom and become the master of technology. Discover what there is to enjoy in
life that is free of technology.
groups and 12-step programs have been shown to be effective, for example, with
addiction to cybersex behaviors. You can
help a friend by encouraging other interests and social activities, discussing
underlying issues with him or her, and helping your friend get to appropriate
help. In some cases, medications may be
effective in treating symptoms related to internet gaming disorder and other
computer-related addictions such as anxiety or depression.
does Internet Gaming Disorder or Other Computer-Related “Addiction” progress?
with other addiction behaviors, internet gaming and other computer-related
addictions can improve. Recovery is an
on-going process, as 12-step programs often point out.
people with Internet Gaming Disorders or Other Computer-Related “Addictions” get
jury is still out on whether obsessive Internet use is an addiction or
disorder, and, if so, whether it can be effectively treated so that there is a
positive expectation that a person might improve.
Rebecca J. Rosen wrote in The Atlantic magazine (not a scholarly,
peer-reviewed publication) in 2011:
review of eight studies (subscription required) finds that
they are plagued by an inability to consistently define Internet addiction,
poor methodology (only one randomized controlled trial), and absent data. So
that brings us back to square one, about where we were in 1995, just with way
more Internet users and way more life happening primarily online.
The central problem with treatment for
Internet addiction is that there is no standard for what Internet addiction is.
Patients at these centers could be suffering from a range of problems --
anything from pathological
gambling (which can certainly manifest itself
online) to sleep disorders and depression. In this sense, for many people
Internet addiction may be more of a symptom than a disorder in and of itself.
If so, they may benefit more from treatment targeted not at their Internet use,
but at whatever else is ailing them.” (Rosen, Rebecca J. (2011.)
progress with internet and other computer addictions involves physical signs of
recovery success and an overall increase in mental stability. Confidence,
better decision-making skills and lifestyle changes help maintain moderation.
· If you were in physical pain, you’d see a doctor to find out what’s wrong. Your mental health is just as important. Learn more here about how to check yourself, from getting a mental health screening to visiting a counseling center. You can use the anonymous Self Evaluator to learn if a treatable mental health problem, including internet addiction, could be affecting you or a friend. Be proactive about your mental health: it’s the first step to feeling better. Internet Addiction Test (IAT) – A validated test for online users to determine if they may be addicted to the Internet.
· One might find help dealing with cybersex excesses at Sex Addicts Anonymous and their in-person and electronic meetings. Their website is https://saa-recovery.org/.
· A good site for video game addictions is http://www.video-game-addiction.org/.
· Excellent internet addiction recovery resources appear on the Net Addiction website: http://netaddiction.com/.