Internet Gaming Disorder
Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is a mental health condition that is characterized by a persistent and recurrent pattern of problematic and excessive gaming behavior, which leads to significant impairment or distress.
What is an Internet Gaming Disorder?
Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is a mental health condition that is characterized by a persistent and recurrent pattern of problematic and excessive gaming behavior, which leads to significant impairment or distress. It is classified as a behavioral addiction and is recognized as a disorder by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).
To meet the diagnostic criteria for IGD, an individual must experience significant distress or impairment in multiple areas of their life, such as academic, social, occupational, or personal, due to their gaming behavior. Additionally, the individual must exhibit at least five of the following symptoms within a 12-month period:
Preoccupation with gaming
Withdrawal symptoms when gaming is taken away or not possible
Tolerance, which means needing to spend more time gaming to achieve the same level of enjoyment
Inability to reduce or stop gaming
Continued excessive use of gaming despite knowledge of psychosocial problems
Loss of interests in other activities or hobbies
Continued use of gaming despite negative consequences or impact on relationships
Deceiving others regarding the amount of time spent gaming
Using gaming as a way of escaping or relieving negative moods
It's important to note that simply engaging in gaming or video games is not enough to be diagnosed with IGD. The symptoms must be severe enough to cause significant distress or impairment in daily life.
Who does Internet Gaming Disorder affect?
Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) can potentially affect anyone who engages in online gaming, but it is most commonly seen in young adults and adolescents. Studies have shown that males are more likely to develop IGD than females, but the disorder can affect people of any gender.
It's difficult to estimate the exact number of people affected by IGD, as it is a relatively new diagnosis and more research is needed to fully understand its prevalence. However, some studies have estimated that between 1-10% of gamers may meet the diagnostic criteria for IGD.
Certain factors may increase the risk of developing IGD, such as:
Pre-existing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD
Social isolation or lack of social support
High levels of stress or low self-esteem
Easy access to and frequent use of online gaming platforms
It's important to note that not everyone who engages in online gaming will develop IGD, and many people are able to enjoy gaming in moderation without it impacting their daily life. However, for those who do struggle with IGD, seeking professional help and support can be an important step in managing the disorder and improving overall well-being.
What are symptoms of an Internet Gaming Disorder?
Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is a mental health condition that is characterized by a persistent and recurrent pattern of problematic and excessive gaming behavior, which leads to significant impairment or distress. The symptoms of IGD may vary from person to person, but some common signs and symptoms include:
Preoccupation with gaming - spending a lot of time thinking about, planning, or anticipating gaming sessions, even when not actively gaming
Withdrawal symptoms - feeling irritable, moody, or depressed when not able to play games or when attempting to reduce the amount of gaming
Tolerance - needing to spend increasing amounts of time gaming to feel satisfied or achieve the desired level of enjoyment
Inability to control gaming - unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop gaming despite repeated efforts to do so
Continued excessive use of gaming despite negative consequences - persisting with gaming despite negative consequences such as poor academic or work performance, disrupted sleep patterns, or conflicts in personal relationships
Loss of interests in other activities or hobbies - losing interest in previously enjoyed activities or hobbies that do not involve gaming
Deceiving others about the amount of time spent gaming - hiding or lying about the amount of time spent gaming
Using gaming as a way of escaping or relieving negative moods - using gaming as a coping mechanism to avoid or escape from personal problems, stress, or negative emotions
It's important to note that the symptoms of IGD must be severe enough to cause significant distress or impairment in daily life, such as in academic, social, occupational, or personal functioning, to meet the diagnostic criteria for the disorder.
How is Internet Gaming Disorder diagnosed?
The diagnostic criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) are defined in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) by the World Health Organization (WHO). To be diagnosed with IGD, an individual must meet the following criteria:
A. Impaired control over gaming: Increasing priority is given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities. Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
B. Gaming behavior: Gaming is continued or escalated despite the occurrence of negative consequences. Gaming behavior and other features are such that the pattern of gaming is sufficiently severe to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
C. The gaming behavior is usually evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.
D. The diagnosis requires a thorough clinical evaluation by a licensed healthcare professional, and should take into account all aspects of the individual's life, including medical and psychiatric history, and family history. A comprehensive assessment should be conducted to rule out other potential explanations for the individual's symptoms.
It's important to note that the diagnosis of IGD should be made with caution and only after a thorough clinical evaluation. Not everyone who engages in online gaming will meet the diagnostic criteria for IGD, and many people are able to enjoy gaming in moderation without it impacting their daily life.
What are strategies and therapies for overcoming an Internet Gaming Disorder?
There are several strategies and treatments that can be used to help individuals overcome Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). The best approach will depend on the severity of the disorder, the individual's personal circumstances, and their specific needs. Here are some strategies and treatments that may be effective:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This is a type of therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to IGD. CBT can be done individually or in a group setting.
Family therapy: This involves working with the individual's family to improve communication, set boundaries, and develop healthy coping skills. Family therapy can be particularly helpful for adolescents with IGD.
Mindfulness-based interventions: These techniques involve practicing mindfulness, which is the act of being present in the moment and non-judgmentally observing thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness-based interventions can help individuals develop greater self-awareness and control over their gaming behavior.
Self-help groups: Joining a self-help group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, can provide a sense of community and support for individuals struggling with IGD.
Lifestyle changes: Encouraging healthy lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep, can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. These changes can also help replace gaming as a coping mechanism.
Medication: While there is no specific medication for IGD, medication may be used to treat co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, that may be contributing to gaming behavior.
Digital detox: Taking a break from all forms of digital media, including gaming, can help individuals reset and break the cycle of gaming addiction. A digital detox can be done individually or as part of a treatment program.
It's important to seek professional help and support to overcome IGD. A licensed healthcare professional can provide a comprehensive assessment and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.
This content is provided for informational and entertainment value only. It is not a replacement for a trained professional's diagnosis or for the treatment of any illness. If you feel like you are struggling with this condition, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With the right treatment and support, individuals with this condition can learn to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives. BetterPsych provides full psychological services via telehealth and offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our services. For more information and to find a therapist specializing in this disorder, please call (833) 496-5011, or visit https://www.betterpsych.com.