Gaming: a Mental Health Disorder
The World Health Organization has added a new disorder to its list, and it’s gaming.
That’s right—gaming can now be considered a mental health disorder. The symptoms of this disease are an inability to stop oneself from gaming, to be so completely consumed into gaming that all other aspects of your life descend into chaos. The highest priority is to play games, and everything else has no importance. Sleep, work, eating, and everything else is abandoned past becoming detrimental to oneself because all that is desired is to play games. To be eligible to be diagnosed, and possibly treated in the future, you need to show at least 12 months of consistent declining mental functions that affect your life socially, personally, educationally, with your work, and with your family.
I do not agree with making this a mental health disorder. Adding gaming as a disorder lessens the impact of real disorders and makes a mockery of people actually suffering from real addictions.
Let’s talk about it.
Anything in this world can be an addiction if you allow it to control you. That doesn’t mean everything should be medically classified and professionally treated. Every day, people play games to lose themselves in those worlds, to escape the rough and tumultuous times they’re having, and/or to simply get enjoyment out of an interactive medium. Being addicted to gaming is a lack of mental willpower to put your priorities in the correct order because of lack of desire or laziness.
Having a full time job and family, I know the hours in which I can play, and when I need to take care of other, more important, aspects of my life. I know I have to work to pay the bills and to fund my hobbies. This is the case with every adult.
There are exceptions of course, like living in terrible circumstances that are outside of your ability to change, but even then it’s less a disorder and more a conscious decision to seek refuge somewhere else. When I was younger, my parents gave me structure and told me when I could or couldn’t play, and I had to work within those parameters. Today, today things are different.
Kids do not have a mental disorder from gaming, because of gaming. Instead, they lack parents who have the rightful authority to tell them when they have to stop playing, and instead bend to the will of their children.
A child doesn’t know better and will indulge him or herself completely into whatever they enjoy without regards to any possible consequences or negative outcomes. If a child loves chocolate and left unsupervised, they’ll eat and eat to their heart’s content. Where this shift in dynamic happened, where parents allowed their children to gain authority over them is beyond me, but it’s bad that parents would rather seek professional help on how to stop their child from playing games.
Instead of telling their kid that they are done for the day, they are going on Google and going to web pages dedicated to educating them in determining and dealing with game addiction. They can’t seem to tell them to stop playing Fortnite and allow them to descend into recklessness, and instead of the World Health Organization telling parents to do their job, they simply make a game like Fortnite one of the focuses on the classification.
If people aren’t taught at a young age how to conduct themselves and how to prioritize their lives, how can they when they grow up? Even the World Health Organization doesn’t completely seem to agree with this classification because they have no way to council those affected or have any real way of providing help for those with this issue. They even go on to say that this supposed disease only affects a small portion of gamers, but for the rest of us to stay vigilant.
I could be wrong and I’ll listen to any reasonable counterpoints but this all just comes across, to me, as another attack on gaming from an organization that either doesn’t understand it, or doesn’t want to. Gaming has been a stigma for a long time and it’s continual growth is something that a lot of the older generation doesn’t understand or accept, some of who work in positions at the World Health Organization.
It feels like we are too quick to diagnose something rather than take responsibility for our actions. I think video games are a healthy avenue of escape, but like everything else, moderation is required.
Are there people out there who game too much at the cost of sacrificing daily necessities?
Do I think it’s a mental disorder?
We have a real mental disorder that seems to grow more prevalent by the day, and that’s depression. We should be looking for alternatives in dealing with that, which studies show gaming can be a therapeutic response to.