Is Classifying Gaming As A Separate Class of Disorder Necessary?

Jun 29, 2018 | 1 Votes by jose 10 rate Your vote
The World Health Organization has just added Gaming Disorder to its list of known deceases. Lets examine why they may think it's a valid disorder and why many think there's still not enough proof to call it so.

WWGDB - Is Classifying Gaming As A Separate Class of Disorder Necessary?

Since the development of computer and video games as an industry, it has become part of many peoples daily lives. From the youngest child who has just begun to play games to the senior who indulges in computer board and thinking games as a pastime, gaming has become a habit, a routine and a hobby for many. However, there is a certain class of individuals who have brought digital gaming to the next level, making it sort of a way of life and even a profession. These people are known as gamers and they spend a huge amount of time playing computer games.

Video or computer gaming is an activity that usually demands the full attention of a player. In lieu of some games that are turn-based or slow-paced and require input in order to continue, most games happen really fast and if you don't enter the proper input at the proper time, the game will move on literally without you. In the case of an FPS, You be Dead! So naturally, most gamers are immersed and glued to the game oblivious that they have been sitting in front of it for hours.

As a gamer, one knows that it is the game that most of the time dictates when and why the gamer should stop. Of course if your base camp has been over-run by the Orcs after playing for around a couple of hours, then the game stops and the Orcs win the day. There are games that can take as long as four to eight hours per session especially the massive online RPGs and RTTS campaign based games. Again, the player may or may not be aware of the time as what is being experienced is akin to an interactive movie on an extended run. However, if you play games, really play games, this is normal.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) including "gaming disorder" as a mental health condition. This however has sort of become a big issue. The ICD is very important in the Medical Field as it defines current known diseases, injuries, illnesses, disorders and other related health problems which is referred to by people in the medical profession from doctors, researchers, health care and insurance companies and other related services. Basically, what this says is that a person can get sick and have a disorder by playing computer and video games.

Gaming Disorder Patients

Another reason for the controversy is the assumption due to the disorder’s classification that computer games are the ones causing the disorder. It's like stating matter of fact that CounterStrike is responsible for turning this young promising student into a blatant obsessive compulsive trigger happy psychopath or an eccentric weirdo who locks himself in his room and hollers at his computer screen all day. The kind of people who dance gleefully to the sound of Headshot, First Strike and Double Kill !!! Oh, such music to my ears!

The WHO however has its own reason for classifying computer game addiction as a psychological disorder that warrants real medical treatment. The disorder is defined as a persistent, over and over uncontrollable urge to play video games until it reaches a point that it becomes priority over any other activity of everyday life like eating, sleeping, going to school, working, talking to people and everything else. By this time, gaming starts to have a very negative effect to the gamers life and that this lifestyle should have been going on for more than a year to be considered as a disorder.

Regardless, many clinical practitioners and researchers disagree with the classification pointing out that it is still too early to classify gaming as the main cause of the addictive disorder and that more definitive research and clinical tests are needed to back up the said diagnosis. Gamers play computer and video games for a lot of reasons and some of this reasons may be the one that triggers an addiction that leads to an unhealthy obsession and in worst cases the said disorder itself. So as it stands, gaming disorder may only be a manifestation of the root disorder in the first plays. What ever is really causing the gamer to play non stop if treated and addressed will bring the gaming addiction down.

Clinical test monitoring of addicted gamers have also shown the negative effects of gaming for extended periods of time on a daily basis. One obsessed gamer had a heart rate of 120 to 200 while immersed in his game which alarmed the doctor as doing this on a daily almost 24 hr basis would eventually destroy his health and lead to a definite heart attack. At this point, the said young man had to definitely seek professional help for the root cause of his gaming addiction.

Again, it should be stressed that a person who loves playing video and computer games and spends a lot of hours doing so does not mean that he or she has a disorder. As mentioned above, the game may probably take some time to play or it has become a habit or routine for the person. As long as it does not pose an extreme negative effect on ones life to warrant being called a disorder. Many argue that there are many addictive activities that are considered addictive and consume a lot of time as well like text chatting or spending time on FaceBook and Social Media till the wee hours of the morning. What about the coders glued to their screens looking at their code over and over again, running, debugging, polishing, finalizing then starting all over again for another application, maybe they should be labeled with "Coding Disorder" as well.

Simply doing something habitually or on a daily basis or spending lots of time, one time big time on something does not constitute an addiction. Reading a novel and not being able to put it down does not constitute a story line disorder either. An addiction itself is not a disorder until it turns into something uncontrollable and detrimental to ones self and environment. This then is the current argument whether computer gaming can be classified as the root cause of a gaming disorder. After all it may just be stress, boredom or the need to relax and get ones mind off some unnecessary worries that cause gamers to play and play and play.

Soon they'll be adding eSports Disorder to the list. Oh well...

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