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Deb Gleeson - 22 May 2018

Gaming Addiction is a Mental Health Disorder

Gaming Addiction is a Mental Health Problem

In June this year the World Health Organisation listed Gaming Addiction as a Mental Health Disorder. You may think that it mainly affects teenagers but young children and adults are also becoming addicted to gaming.

Gaming disorder is defined in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior ('digital-gaming' or 'video-gaming') characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. (World Health Organisation)

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months. (World Health Organisation)

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behaviour. (World Health Organisation)

If you think you or someone you know may have a Gaming Addiction Problem here are some options:

  1. Ring the local Mental Health Triage service and discuss the issues with them
    1. South Australia 13 14 65
  2. Make an appointment with your GP
  3. If you don't think you GP has expertise in Gaming Addiction you can use https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/find-a-professional to find a professional who has the required expertise.
  4. Ask the GP for a Mental Health Care Plan. This is a plan for people with a mental health disorder. If you have mental health issues, your doctor can write out this plan. It identifies what type of health care you need, and spells out what you and your doctor have agreed you are aiming to achieve. It also may refer you to local mental health services.
  5. Once you have a Mental Health Care Plan use https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/find-a-professional to find a psychologist who has the required expertise in your area. You can also search for bulk-billing psychologists with this site.

As with all Mental Health Problems it is important to let the person know that you care for them and want to assist them. You may need to be patient and wait for the person with the problem to realise that they need help. While you are waiting look after yourself and get support. For Carer support click here.

Mental Health First Aid Guidelines to assist a person with Gambling Problems has very good advice that can be used for someone with Gaming Problems.  

Completing a course in Mental Health First Aid gives a person the knowledge and skills to support a person developing a mental health problem, experiencing the worsening of an existing mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.  Find a course here.

Remember Mental Health is everyone's business