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Internet gaming is no more fun!

June 19, 2018

Dr. Srikanth Reddy

Manav, 15 yrs was brought by his parents with complains of spending hours on mobile gaming since last 8 months. He would avoid his friends and was getting back in studies and sports as well. He had become more irritable and would defy his parents many a times.

It’s finally official and has occurred after a long wait. We as psychiatrist used to come across many children spending hours on gaming and we used to fumble in finding an official name for the illness. The latest 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) has eased the trouble by including the condition “gaming disorder” in its latest edition. It’s going to be published in 2018 itself. This book contains codes and criteria to diagnose an illness

The draft mentions it as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour so severe that it takes “precedence over other life interests”. We have been treating such kids but now, we can label them properly.

Like any addiction disorder, the gaming behaviour should be persistent for a period of at least 12 months “for a diagnosis to be assigned” but added that period might be shortened “if symptoms are severe”.

Following are the clinical features mentioned

1.impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity, duration)
2. increased priority given to gaming
3. continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences

Some parents may claim that their children are simply enthusiastic gamers and may not be in real sense addicted. What needs to be seen is whether this habit is affecting the basic things like socializing, schooling, biological clocks and is also leading to behavioral problems.

The problem is being recognized all over the world. Indian parents frequently complain about the same. China has a system of alerting the user if the user cross a stipulated number of hours of gaming. South Korea bans access to gaming for adolescens between midnight to 6am.

The bottom line is, if your child is spending hours on mobile gaming, be alert and seek advice of the nearest mental health care provider. This could be a beginning of an addiction.

Dr. Srikanth Reddy MD
Psychiatrist and De-Addiction Specialist
Vijay Nagar, Indore

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