A hot topic in both gaming and the mental health field right now is the World Health Organization’s choice to classify excessive gaming as a mental health disorder. Professor Douglas Gentile from Iowa State University has researched game addiction in a study that spanned three years, and he discovered that game addiction, especially in those under the age of 18, can have some serious consequences.
Gentile’s study included over 3,000 kids who were from all over the United States. His study showed that more than 90% of people can play video games and not develop a gaming disorder, but those who do develop compulsive gaming habits see an increase in depression, anxiety, and social phobia symptoms. Gentile also noted that kids who became addicted to games experienced declining grades at school.
However, Gentile also observed some kids who were able to curb their addiction to games over the course of his study. The kids who were able to overcome their game addiction saw less depression, anxiety, and social phobia symptoms, and they were also able to turn their poor grades around.
It’s clear from Gentile’s work that video game addiction in kids can have serious consequences, but it’s also reassuring to learn that, according to his research, more than 90% of people can play video games without developing the disorder. However, it’s still important to develop ways to treat gaming disorder for those who are diagnosed with it.
As more research is compiled, it’s likely that different forms of treatment will be developed. In the meantime, it appears as though treatment for gaming disorder will be similar to how drug or alcohol addiction is treated. One example of this is the nine year old girl who is addicted to Fortnite, and has since been placed in a rehabilitation clinic.
Whether these traditional forms of addiction treatment are effective in treating gaming disorder remains to be seen. Gaming disorder is a brand new diagnosis, and there is still a lot of research to be done.
Source: WHO TV