I was browsing Twitter recently, and I noticed that gaming disorder has been officially recognised as an actual illness. It seemed to have divided opinions across my timeline. Some were just outright dismissive to the idea, others agreed and are happy that is has been recognised this way, and there were others, who probably didn’t understand the concept and would snap back with “I play games all the time, guess I’m addicted!”
I’ve had some time to sit with this and form my opinions, it was even on my mind last night while I was in bed, so as yet another nerd with a blog, I figured why not throw my two cents in the mix. I am far from an expert in these matters, I am in no way a medical professional, I have an understanding of addictive, compulsive and obsessive behaviours through the mental health issues I have, so as a gamer I feel like I need to throw my hat in the mix in a rational manner.
First of all, I don’t like it being called a disorder, that’s more nitpicky on my part, I live with a few mental disorders, and they are nothing like an addiction. When I play games and lose track of time, or lose my temper, that is an impulsive act because of my various illnesses.
An addiction is something entirely different by definition. It is when you cannot live without a particular substance or activity. You crave it, you go through withdrawals without them. If you can’t get your fix, life is unbearable. Your life revolves around this.
When a person is addicted to a substance, it reeks all sorts of havoc on their lives, all aspects of it.
Now let’s apply this logic to video games. I honestly put more hours into video games than I care to admit to, it’s my main hobby, it’s my escape, I’ve also found myself writing about it now. I have even gone for extended periods without my consoles, I’ve also willingly left games be for whatever reason.
What separates myself and others who feel the same way about games are those who make gaming their life. They will spend money that they need for other things on microtransactions, subscriptions, video games in general to the extent that the person will neglect to pay their rent, they won’t pay bills. They’ll play games so often they isolate themselves from friends, family, they could even stop turning up at work, miss important dates, events and occasions. So that’ll be their professional, personal and financial parts of their life ruined.
This behaviour matches instances of people with substance issues.
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