Psychologist: Video Game Addiction Hard to Treat Due to a Lack of a ‘Standard Definition’

Dr. Daniel King, from the University of Adelaide's (Adelaide, South Australia) psychology department says that the definition of video game addiction has yet to be defined because of the model that most researchers have used – namely borrowing from the framework of gambling addiction. He believes that treatments of the addiction to games could be improved if a "standard definition of video game addiction was adopted."

Dr. King says that he has reviewed research into harmful video game behavior and finds that there seems to be no clear consensus on what constitutes pathological gaming and using the gambling addiction or substance abuse doesn't work very well.

"Although there are some similarities, video gaming is not the same as gambling," Dr King tells "Pathological video gaming has its own set of addictive components which can be distinct to internet gambling or other behaviours like online shopping and using social media."

"We need to better understand the unique elements of pathological video gaming," he adds.

Dr. King goes on to say that people affected by pathological gaming often suffer serious consequences in their relationships, careers, sleeping habits, and overall health. But it is tough to treat an addiction if that addiction is not defined. Interestingly, video game addiction is not officially recognized as a real addiction by the worldwide mental health professionals like gambling or substance abuse.

"For most people, playing video games adds value and enjoyment to their lives and we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that it's okay to be 'healthily obsessed' with games," he said. "But for those people who have a problem, we can do more to understand and treat them."



"rolling the dice" art © 2013 Sergey Nivens | Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Which is something that worries me in our own arguments.

    I see a lot of gamers take an extreme stance with the idea that any tidbit of support plays into the hands of the opposition, but extremes can also be discrediting since they can be countered with, well, and tidbit.

    I think at some point we are going to have to grow up a bit and move towards the middle.  Video game addiction is not some new unique plague on our culture, but it also is not simply another instance of compulsive behavior like gambling.  It dovetails with other psychological hooks that, if one is going to treat an individual, one would be a fool (and ineffective) to ignore.  So long term understanding what combination of issues make up game addiction will be important for helping people who have real life damaging problems… and throwing them under the bus simply so we can say 'our hobby is not an addiction!' is no better then the people drumming up fear.

  2. 0
    -Jes- says:

    Dear Dr. Daniel King.

    When you say "-we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that it's okay to be 'healthily obsessed' with games-", you are forgetting the simple fact that any such definition would find it's majority of use amongst people who deliberately ignore this sentence!

    That's why you won't find any backing from the pro-videogame crowd; no one wants to give the other side – the one made up of ignorant narcissists with police-state agendas – any ACTUAL fuel when they're already making such great strides with condensed horsemanure.

  3. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Like saying death is difficult to treat because its not standardize enough…oy vay its called compulsion the same thing that drives shopping and gambling addictions….

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