Academics weigh in on ‘gaming addiction’ claims

We’ve previously discussed that according to the Manual of Mental Disorders and the industry standard Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, gaming addiction isn’t a thing.

But new research says otherwise. The Independent is reporting that The International Classification of Diseases, last updated 27 years ago, may be throwing in with a “yes” in its update. Part of the reason appears to be a 2016 University of Oxford study in which fewer than 2 out of 3 participants indicated signs of addiction. Lead author Dr. Andrew Przybylski particularly noted that the issue is an “internet gaming disorder” but admitted that “the study did not find a clear link between potential addiction and negative effects on health.” The researchers themselves concluded that their findings’ “evidence linking Internet gaming disorder to game engagement was strong, but links to physical, social, and mental health outcomes were decidedly mixed.”

It doesn’t end there though. The World Health Organization will also add “Gaming Disorder” to its 2018 international classification of diseases.

Kotaku spoke to Dr. Chris Ferguson, a psychologist who studies the effects of games, noted that part of the debate stems from the belief that gaming activates a part of the brain similar to that of drug users. While there’s a “kernal of truth” to that, he went on to say that, “more similar to other fun activities like eating chocolate, having sex, getting a good grade, etc., not heroin or cocaine.”

When we contacted researcher Dr. Rachel Kowert for comment (we’ve consulted her on research such as this in the past), she suggested that “the article needs to point out that the [American Psychological Association] still does not formally recognize it as an addiction and there is a large amount of research just now coming out questioning whether or not it is a distinctive behavioral addiction deserving of its own classification.” Dr. Kowert also reminded us that the APA “has not determined whether or not it should be classified, diagnosed, and treated as a distinctive addiction,” making the news come off as a bit “moral panic-y.”

Source: Kotaku, The Independent. Thanks, Katriana, Tororin, and Tanek!
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33 Comments on "Academics weigh in on ‘gaming addiction’ claims"

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sirsam

You can literally be addicted to anything. Anything.

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agemyth 😩

Kotaku spoke to Dr. Chris Ferguson, a psychologist who studies the effects of games…

It is very weird seeing my old freshman Psychology course professor (from like 2007) come up in things like this. It’s good to see he moved up from the university I attended at the time :P

Umm and yeah I agree with him.

Leontes
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Leontes

Perhaps some of you should have a look at the diagnosis criteria for addiction. They center around loss of control and damage to your social/working functioning. Lacking that, the dose isn’t a thing.

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Michael

This is no different then doing something like reading, watching tv, or playing with toys for hours a day. The word addiction, in a health sense, should only be applied to things that actually have a physical impact on your health in a direct way. Yes, sitting there playing games for hours a day is bad for a number of body related things, but indirectly. Just as sitting there reading for hours a day is bad on your body for a number of things as well.

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Jeff Risu Dailey

How is playing video games any differant then watching tv for 8-12 hours a day.

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flamethekid .

well with T.V you are just sitting there
with video games depending on the game you could be
practicing management skills in a big guild.
doing math to min max your build.
playing an action game and improving your hand eye coordination.
fighting crushing involentary loneliness that may lead to suicidal depression by talking to people.
learning new things either from the game or someone you may interact with in that video game(a lot of intellectual topics generally come up in games with a more mature playerbase)
escaping from a possibly terrible reality you might face and decrease the chances of you pulling out the rope

there are alot of things video games provide for you than television doesn’t
with TV you just sit there

Steely Bob
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Steely Bob

wait… video games are addicting?

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Sunken Visions

Just call it the “War on Addiction” and be done with it. It’s obvious the people categorizing these ‘problems’ just want to obfuscate the real cause of most addiction, which is depression.

Not that anything we say is going to matter. The people responsible for the worst problems will never stop trying to blame their victims.

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Chosenxeno .

I’m fully with “tinfoil hat” and “rabbit hole” theories. “They” don’t like games because they make it too easy to escape all the brain washing “they” want to give you. Look at the countries that restrict any sort of internet activity or internet use. “They” don’t want you to be able to tune out “reality” for HOURS so easily.

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silverlock

Time spent playing games is time not spent being brainwashed by TV.

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Michael

Absolutely. Television is a destructive habit compared to gaming. You get nothing out of watching TV 90% of the time.

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Chosenxeno .

Yep. The day is coming when they start trying to “Easternize” internet gaming Look how much “Toxicity” came up this year. How long before time restriction or SS is required under the guise of “lessening toxicity”? It’s really them wanting a inroad on ending all dissenting voices of “New Media” on the internet. People forget Blizzard “feeling the room” on REAL NAME forums. I didn’t…

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Sally Bowls

I noticed this on a number of non-gaming sites. There was even a segment on software/devices being designed to be addictive on ABC News recently.

But this WHO news is not the start. In 2013, “Internet Gaming Disorder” was added to DSM-5. In 2015, the American Psychological Association said that there is a demonstrated link between violent video game use and aggressive behavior. In 2017, we have this, the WHO updating ICD-11. So even years before the discussions of whether lockboxes are gambling, there were increasing mental health questions about gaming.

Alas, the tenor of the times; I hope not but fear that even if nothing comes of the lockbox/gambling front, that there will be legal limitations on gaming.

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silverlock

Do they bother to comment on the fact that in the US violent crimes by youths has been on a steady decrease since the first fps games came out? Sublimation not imitation seems to be the dominate response to video games.

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Chosenxeno .

Violent Crime in general has been dropping for many yeas. The News won’t tell you that. You need to be nice and scared at all times. Especially of the minorities! They’re out there in Packs dressed in Mad Max gear according to the Media lol

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

harvardcore gamer.gif
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A Dad Supreme

While there’s a “kernal of truth” to that, he went on to say that, “more similar to other fun activities like eating chocolate, having sex, getting a good grade, etc., not heroin or cocaine.”

So basically, fun stuff can be really compelling to make you want to continue doing that fun stuff. Sounds a lot better than “I’m addicted to roller coasters”.

I’m glad we have PhD’s to tell us that or else how would we have ever figured it out as a society?

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Crowe

I wonder if he really said “kernal” or if that was just someone misspelling what he said. I want my PhDs to be able to spell or at least know how to spell-check!

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Sally Bowls

If they could spell, they would have gone to med school, been a real doctor, and been a psychiatrist, not merely a psychologist. :-)

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

every nurse or someone who knows a nurse reading your post:

“doctors can spell?”

XD

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Zora

Gosh of course it’s not as heroine, chemicals imposes an actual systemic addiction to your entire body that requires actual medical/clinical treatment to be cured.

There was the need of academic research to find out activities that gives you a rush can be classed together and potentially lead to “addiction” on the psychological side?

If they asked me I would have told them for half the price the spent on all that research, I swear…

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flamethekid .

anything that exists on the planet in any shape or form can be addicted to even things that are incredibly unusual

there are people literally addicted to eating bricks

addiction isn’t a problem in its inherent form its when it claims your entire life is when its a problem and gaming is generally in the minority when it comes to addition

academic addiction is more common than game addiction just sayin

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Melissa McDonald

Can’t imagine anyone thinking that one cannot get addicted to video gaming. You can get addicted to all kinds of things, to the detriment of the rest of your life and relationships.

I am reminded of a quote from the excellent CS Lewis book “The Screwtape Letters”:

“Checkers is as good as murder if it leads a man down.” I think you can see what I mean.

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Duane Does not check email

I am eating the foam cushions to my couch and can’t stop!

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