Gaming addiction or disorder

Up to 10% of gamers struggle with Video Game Addiction or Gaming Disorder

Gaming disorder, both online and offline, has been defined for the first time in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) by the World Health Organisation. The ICD is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally, and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is the diagnostic classification standard for all clinical and research purposes.


10% to 15% of young people in Asian countries and 1% to 10% of young people in Western countries are addicted to video games.


It remains very much a hidden disease since players usually play in the confines of their home and is often associated with social anxiety and depression.


How Gaming disorder links to other addictions

Gaming disorder shares many features with other addictions including drugs, alcohol and gambling addiction. Functional neuroimaging also shows that similar areas of the brain are activated.

Governments and health agencies worldwide are seeking for the effects of online gaming to be addressed, and for preventive approaches to be developed.

We are concerned about gaming disorder but we similarly concerned about a moral panic around gaming disorder.


How we approach video game addiction

The Institute of Games recognizes that in 90% of all cases gaming is played in a healthy and positive way. But even ‘heatlhy gaming’ can still lead to conflicts and arguments in the family home. In most cases these tensions or conflicts should be seen as adolescent behaviour, testing the boundaries of parents. This requires a resourcing for parents and perhaps a conflict resolution process, not necessary a clinical intervention.

At times we come across cases in which gaming is extreme. Young people dropping out of school, deteriorating family relationships, severe negative health impacts and impaired functioning. In these cases professional help should be available to assist the young person and their family.

The Institute of Games can help you with both parenting issues and addiction. Get in touch with us to find out more.

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Further reading:

Saunders et al. 2017, Gaming disorder: Its delineation as an important condition for diagnosis, management, and prevention, Journal of Behavioral Addictions 6(3), pp. 271–279

Aarseth et al. 2017, Scholars’ open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal, Journal of Behavioral Addictions 6(3), pp. 267–270

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