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    Gaming and Tech Addiction

    “It’s not a problem, until it’s a problem.”

    We all face life challenges that can impact our mental health and well-being. Today, many of us cope by connecting online, using social media, or gaming. Like any behaviors, none of this is a problem, until it begins to impact our relationships. Maybe we find we are engaging as soon and as often as possible, spending more time than we would like to in front of a screen.

    In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the severity of video game addiction in adults and teens by classifying gaming disorder as a diagnosable mental health condition.This disorder is included in the 11th edition of WHO’s International Classification of Diseases Manual. The WHO lists three main criteria for the diagnosis of gaming disorder:

    • An inability to control the urge to play video games
    • The feeling that gaming is more important than any other activity
    • Continuing to play video games despite the negative consequences of the behavior on relationships, academic performance, and/or work.

    Here are some concerns:

    • Preferring gaming/being online over spending time with others
    • Getting around blocker programs, uninstalling and reinstalling apps
    • Deleting browser histories, encountering computer viruses, deleted texts, emails, social media threads
    • Conflicts arising when requests to limit or change gaming/online behavior occur
    • Not returning texts/phone calls, especially if there have been recent discussions or restrictions placed around gaming or online use
    • Neglecting partners or others to make time for gaming/being online
    • More time spent gaming or making plans to use tech more often
    • Denial of problem despite others pointing it out
    • Attempts to reduce use often failing
    • Would rather game/be online than participate in other activities
    • Irritable and angry when restricted
    • Lies to self and others about use, secret keeping
    • Use interferes with offline activities
    • May be depressed, anxious, or avoidant
    • Uses gaming/spending time online as a way to escape problems
    • Multiple areas of concern exist (family, academic, employment, health, relationships)

    If you or a loved one is struggling and you have concerns about their social media, tech, or gaming use, please reach out to us.