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Internet Gaming Disorder

Psychologists recognize existence of the Internet Gaming Disorder
Internet Gaming Disorder

Internet Gaming Disorder

Psychologists recognize existence of the Internet Gaming Disorder

Psychologists now recognize the existence of what they call, Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). The following short entry reviews a study done on the subject by King and Delfabbro, back in 2014. The research paper was published in the Clinical Psychology Review journal. The disorder is now included as a potential mental health disorder in the DSM 5 (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition), and published by the APA (American Psychiatric Association). The disorder is somewhat similar to a gambling disorder and includes the following criteria:

  • preoccupation with Internet games
  • withdrawal symptoms when Internet gaming is taken away
  • the need to spend increasing amounts of time engaged in Internet gaming
  • unsuccessful attempts to control participation in Internet gaming
  • loss of interest in hobbies and entertainment as a result of, and with the exception of, Internet gaming
  • continued and excessive use of Internet games, despite knowledge of psychosocial problems
  • deception of family members, therapists, or others, regarding the amount of Internet gaming
  • use of Internet gaming to escape, or relieve a negative mood
  • loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of participation in Internet games

The disorder is likewise referred to as “video game addiction” and “pathological video gaming”. But, at what point does normal Internet gaming become a disorder? Researchers King and Delfabbro (2014) maintain that one of the characteristic features, is an excessive and irrational preoccupation and beliefs held about Internet gaming. The authors found the following four factors as influencing the development of IGD:

  • beliefs about game reward value and tangibility
  • maladaptive and inflexible rules about gaming behavior
  • over-reliance on gaming, in order to meet self-esteem needs
  • gaming as a method of gaining social acceptance

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been designated the appropriate treatment for IGD. CBT challenges one’s beliefs and thoughts, and allows the individual to replace maladaptive cognition by adaptive ones, which in turn leads the person to feel better.

­See also:

Illustration: Megan Jorgensen

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