If you tend to go overboard when playing your favorite video game, meaning spending abnormal number of hours playing, then you might just have a gaming addiction – maybe. The problem is that scientists aren't sure if there is even such a thing as gaming addiction.
Back in 2012 the American Psychiatric Association released the final draft of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; otherwise known as DSM, which is the bible of psychiatry. In Section 3 appendix of the DSM-V, the APA describes concepts that need further study before they are classified as actual mental disorders and one of those concepts is "Internet use gaming disorder".
What this means is that some psychiatrists in the APA believe that there is such a "behavioral disorder" that covers gaming addiction, but more studies will have to be done before it can be moved into the working classifications of mental disorders.
Most psychological evaluations can be difficult if you can’t study the person's life. This is an example of one such survey that is already being used to evaluate people and the possibility of them being addicted to gaming: (It should be noted that this survey was geared to school-age children)
In the past year:
- Has your schoolwork suffered because you spent too much time playing computer- or video-games?
- Have you ever skipped your studies or co-curricular activities to play more computer- or video-games?
- Do you need to spend more and more time and/or money on VGs to feel the same amount of excitement?
- Have you played VGs to escape from problems, bad feelings, or stress?
- Are you thinking about computer- or video-games more and more?
- Have you stolen a VG from a store or a friend, or stolen money in order to buy a VG?
- Have you tried to play VGs less often or for shorter periods of time, but are unsuccessful?
- Have you become restless or irritable when trying to cut down or stop playing computer- or video games?
- Have you ever lied to family or friends about how much you play VGs?
- Have you ever needed to borrow money so you could get or play computer- or video-games?
The scoring for the survey; based on yes and no answers, with yes being 1 – or sometimes .5 – and no being 0, went like this. If the person's score added up to 5 they are considered as being pathological for the study. This scoring is based on the DSM's criteria for pathological gambling. The 5-point requirement for classification is a DSM standard.
While gaming addiction may not officially be a mental disorder, the fact that it has even made the appendix section of the next DSM is important and means that we will start seeing more studies on the subject in the near future.