Gaming Disorder | Should it Be Taken Seriously?


This past few weeks twitter and the gaming world have been up in arms about gaming addiction being announced as a disorder and some people are adamant it's to making gaming out to be a terrible hobby but personally there is a lot more to this than just gaming, I myself have made a little joke about how 20 hours gaming a week is classed as an addiction, my reason for this is that 20 hours seems like a very low number and most gamers could be considered to have an addiction to gaming if that's the case but the more I read up on this the more I realised it's not fair to make even a little joke out of how many hours is deemed addictive because it can start out as little as 20 hours for someone and get progressively more, addiction isn't just for drugs and alcohol there are so many more things that a person can be addicted to which will slowly ruin their life, such as hoarding it can start out small and get worse and worse over time.

So who are the ones who classified gaming addiction as a disorder? The World Health Organization (WHO) are the ones who classified it, Their aim is to improve knowledge about attaining good health. For gaming addiction to be recognised as an addiction WHO states that it should show that over a period of 12 months that the addiction is impairing personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning, but they don't make any statements about how many hours is classed as an addiction, I'm not sure who actually came up with 20 hours, if you want to know more about why they class it as a gaming disorder click HERE

From what I have already said I can see people rolling their eyes and saying I'm making out gaming to be a negative thing when that's not the case it's more so trying to explain it in my words, one thing I do want to mention is parents who give their children too much leeway when it comes to gaming and then blame the game when their child won't come off of it, it doesn't take much to implement rules and to give your child other options. If they have been good treat gaming as a type of reward rather than a way to keep your child quiet, at least that way they know that by doing what they are told and listening to they will be able to play a game for a couple of hours. If a child won't listen and only wants to play games obviously the behaviour needs to change as school and family should always come first, and this type of behaviour could lead to a gaming addiction in the future but I personally wouldn't blame a video game for this as gaming can be an escape from the real world.

The ignorance that surrounds this discussion just shows how little people care for other's wellbeing because they refuse to believe that gaming can become addictive and because it doesn't affect them personally they see fit to say it's not real and that's actually really sad seeing as how many people are opening up about their mental illnesses and addictions because they feel these days and those who do have a gaming addiction will feel like people won't take them seriously. I feel like more people need to educate themselves when it comes to this, addictive behaviour can take a while to show and people can often get good at hiding it but there are a lot of signs of an addiction such as:


  • A change in behaviour - have they become unreliable and isolating themselves from others (yes I'm aware this is a sign of anxiety and depression too but they go hand in hand with each other).
  • Their eating and sleeping patterns change
  • Stopped looking after themselves
  • Low Mood and they become irritable
  • Everyday tasks aren't being attempted
  • Shutting themselves away from others

I would say the biggest warning sign to someone being addicted to video games would be when it impacts a person's whole life and refuses to move from in front of a game and their health starts deteriorating, it happens all the time we just don't hear about it often. Think about how quickly a person can get a blood clot because they haven't moved around enough, you need breaks not just for your eyes but for the whole of your body, gaming and not moving from one spot can have a toll on your body whether you want to hear that or not that is the reality of it, back in 2011 a gamer died due to a blood clot after a marathon gaming session, you don't have to have an underlying condition to develop clots either they can appear at anytime.

Gaming has always been a form of escapism for me and at times I turn to it to ignore my issues in life which is fine as is playing it as a hobby, career, with mates etc, I'm not the kind of person who has a problem with getting addicted to things as I feel I don't have an addictive nature but nor does a lot of people who eventually get addicted to things and it's possible to get carried away when it comes to gaming, there is no denying that! What am I getting at here? People being able to get help for a gaming disorder isn't a negative thing, an addiction can destroy someone's life and be able to get help for a certain type of addiction from the staff who are trained in a particular thing is important, just because it doesn't affect you doesn't mean it hasn't had an effect on others, open your eyes and stop being so selfish to those whose lives are ruined by any kind of addiction, personally I say that gaming addictions should be taken seriously. 

-Elle R

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