Gaming Disorder Or Gaming Addiction?


Is too much video gaming really a mental health problem? Mike Brooks talks about the construct of the disorder.

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified Gaming disorder as a new disorder.

A psychologist Mike Brooks debates on this decision from WHO because ‘any mental health disorder, including Gaming Disorder, would be considered a hypothetical construct’. This means they are not ‘real’ because there is no blood test for any mental health disorder. There are only symptoms and behaviours– depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction etc.

“When does an intense interest and fun derived from playing a game cross a threshold to become a gaming disorder? It’s really not clear! Diagnosing any mental health condition may never be an exact science, and Gaming Disorder is no different”, explains Mike Brooks.

So, the question is whether the Gaming Disorder is actually a symptom of another problem? There are some data that indicate that people who spend a lot of their time looking at screens tend to be more depressed. Also, why is gaming considered as problematic and not everything screen-connected?

We know that gaming can harm our health when it comes to our sleeping habits, physical activity and even social interaction. They make us addicted, and this is why Brooks proposes to rename ‘disorder’ into ‘Gaming Addiction’.

On the other hand, gaming companies know what they’re doing – they make a lot of different strategies and tricks that make it very difficult for the gamer to put the game down. Why? Well, the answer is obvious – money. After all, they have a team of neuropsychologists, psychologists and social psychologists to weave these tricks and strategies in the game.

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If you are experiencing difficulties with your mental health, please seek advice from a medical professional or the Samaritans helpline at 116 123.