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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Is Gaming An Addiction?

English: Arcade Video Game
English: Arcade Video Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
How would you define the word "gaming"? Would it surprise you to know that the first (primary) definition of the word "gaming" is "gambling"?  Gaming is not a new word; in fact the Merriam-Webster dictionary says the first known use of the word "gaming" was in 1501!

Today's post is not really about gambling, but about what is now referred to by some health experts as "gaming addiction." Gaming addiction is defined as an extreme use of computer and video games that interferes with daily life; however, in the United States we do not have a formal diagnosis of gaming addiction and it is currently not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

A definition and diagnosis in the United States aside, South Korea has the distinction of leading the world in identifying and treating gaming and internet addiction. The South Korean government conducted a study in 2010 and determined that about 8% of their country's population between the ages of 9 and 39 suffer from internet and gaming addiction. 

CNN has produced a series called "Gaming Reality" and as part of their in-depth study they interviewed Dr. Han Doug-hyun who listed the top five warning signs of internet or gaming addiction:
  1. Disrupted regular life pattern. If a person plays games all night long and sleeps in the daytime, that can be a warning he or she should seek professional help.
  2. If the potential gaming or Internet addict loses his or her job, or stops going to school in order to be online or to play a digital game.
  3. Need for a bigger fix. Does the gamer have to play for longer and longer periods in order to get the same level of enjoyment from the game?
  4. Withdrawal. Some Internet and gaming addicts become irritable or anxious when they disconnect, or when they are forced to do so.
  5. Cravings. Some Internet and gaming addicts experience cravings, or the need to play the game or be online when they are away from the digital world.
Here is a CNN video that discusses in detail gaming addiction:

If you are having trouble viewing the video, then you can see it here.

Your thoughts? Do you know people who exhibit signs of gaming addiction?
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