A study has been released saying that gaming addiction no longer exists. “Don’t stare at the screen too much, you’ll get square eyes.” is a phrase all too often heard in our childhood. But now researchers are saying that gaming addiction is a myth, and that instead excessive gaming results in an Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD).
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an internet gaming disorder is listed as a “condition of further study,” meaning it has the potential to be a diagnosable disorder, but more research is needed. Their research suggests that more people aren’t addicted and instead depend upon gaming due to a lack of fulfillment within their lives.
Cardiff University have carried out studies which suggest that it is not possible to become ‘addicted’ to gaming. After studying over 2,000 people they concluded that this is not the kind of addiction we know about.
To be diagnosed with an Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) you need to show signs of at least 5 of these symptoms. It has been described as being most common in male adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20.
- Preoccupation or obsession with games.
- Withdrawal symptoms when not playing.
- A buildup of tolerance so more time is needed to play games for satisfaction.
- Attempts to stop playing have failed.
- No interest in other activities.
- Continued overuse even though negative impacts are understood.
- Lying about time spent gaming.
- Using games as a way of relieving anxiety or guilt.
- Careers, relationships, or opportunities being jeopardised because of games.
Daniel Allpress, who is technically classed as having IGD by this system, and has gamed for over 956 hours, says he doesn’t agree with the word “disorder” being used. “I think labels are dangerous and the people who decide what labels to give to things that don’t apply to them necessarily, it’s just about political correctness”
“Addiction is a serious things if it’s alcohol or drugs and lesser so but definitely gaming, so I think the word disorder puts a mental stigma on it. You know, you think of bipolar or schizophrenia. It’s quite an extreme word for someone who likes to game more than they like to do anything else.”
Owen Adamson has totalled up 4,292 hours on his steam account but strongly believes that liking gaming should land you with a disorder that brings along so many connotations. “Gaming isn’t chemically addictive, it can be behaviourally addictive but I think that’s false attribution and that there are other reasons in someone’s life.”
“I think it’s not acceptable to say that most gamers have a disorder because that’s just not medically right. It’s not a disorder, it’s a behavioural pattern.”
So it seems that “addiction” isn’t the right word – but is “disorder”?