Digital Addictions: A Look into Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD)

“Online gambling” and “online gaming” mean two distinctly different things yet sometimes the condition results in the same consequences. Like alcohol and methamphetamine abuse, the substances are different, but the recovery lifestyle is the solution for both types of addiction. However, unlike substance abuse, the internet is fully legal and accessible to nearly everyone. This means that digital addiction is a threat to everyone.

Whether it’s in person or online, gambling is associated with risking something of value in hopes of a specific outcome of an event or contest. Alternatively, gaming is associated with spending time and effort for digital and social rewards. While digital addictions are often overlooked by adults and children alike, the disorders can be debilitating and disrupt your daily life.

Internet Gaming Disorder

Although many people use to scoff at the idea of an addiction to games, parents are now beginning to understand the seriousness of internet gaming disorders. Despite having been around for a relatively short period of time, internet addiction has taken the world by storm. 

More specifically, internet gaming disorder (IGD) appears to be as physically and psychologically addicting as internet gambling disorder. IGD is not just frequent video game playing, IGD is clinically significant impairment in psychosocial functioning due to compulsive internet gaming. 

Unfortunately, gaming is often met with zeal and perseverance in younger generations, leading to a widespread number of internet gaming disorders in youths. The uptick in online gambling disorder is also far more prevalent among younger people when compared with older “traditional” gamblers.

How Do Addictions Experts Determine Who Suffers from IGD?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) has determined that IGD may be present when 5 or more of the following occur within a 12-month period:

  1. Obsessed with games to the point that the person is daydreaming about previous gaming or planning the next gaming fling; daily living revolves around gaming;
  2. Impatience, intolerance, irritability, anger, anxiety or unhappiness occur when gaming is stopped or taken away, similar if not identical to drug withdrawal syndrome
  3. Neuronal down-regulation or tolerance manifested by the compulsion to spend more and more time engaged in games;
  4. Several attempts to stop or reduce gaming thoughts and actions;
  5. Decreased interest in pleasurable activities with the exception of games;
  6. Minimization, rationalization or denial of psychosocial consequences secondary to gaming;
  7. Not being forthright to family, counselors, or others regarding the magnitude of gaming;
  8. Gaming is used as a “drug” to escape reality or reduce ill feelings such as boredom, attention deficit, dependence, oppression, guilt, anxiety, rejection, low self-esteem, and unhappiness.
  9. The gamer has knowingly or unknowingly suffered psychosocial losses, setbacks, or erosion of relationships, academic performance, employment, or educational or career opportunity.

If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it is important to seek help. Reaching out to a medical professional for assistance with a digital addiction like internet gaming disorder can put you on the right track toward recovery and happiness.

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