Addicted to gaming | Video games and mental illness
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Addicted to gaming | Video games and mental illness

August 25, 2019

Hi, my name is Siope. I’m with Smarter
Parenting and today I’m going to talk to you about some interesting things that
are occurring in the mental health field but also with addictions. Now a draft was
released this year, 2018, by the W-H-O the World Health Organization and for a
new version of the ICD which is the International Classification of Diseases.
Now, they’re considering including into the ICD, which is going to be released
this year, something called Gaming Disorder. Okay. So what is the ICD. Now the
ICD is a guide that contains codes and definitions for physicians and for
mental health professionals to know how to diagnose a person with a disorder or
a physical ailment. Now, it’s also used to help track
diseases and diagnose further issues that may happen. And this actually
correlates because that’s what’s used actually to said to be sent to your
insurance company. So they bill through this code and they know exactly what
you’re being treated for. And then they can decide how much money they need to
spend on treatment for you. Now, the last version of the ICD was completed in 1992,
so it’s been a while, but this introduction of this new Gaming Disorder
has a lot of people wondering if it’s a good idea, if it’s bad idea, and within
the community of mental health professionals they’re split on whether
or not this should be included or not, okay. So what is Gaming Disorder? That’s
probably one of the first things that we need to address. Now
Gaming Disorder, and I’m going to be quoting from reports actually that
discuss what they’re classifying as Gaming Disorder. Gaming disorder
according to the draft document describes a “pattern of persistent or
recurrent gaming behavior so severe that it takes precedence over other life
interests.” Okay. So basically what it’s saying if you
are playing games and not doing other life interests, then you may have a
Gaming Disorder. I think we all have a friend, or it may be us, that once
we’re in a game, a video game, we tend to want to see it through. That-that seems
to be normal. But if it comes to a point where you’re avoiding everything else in
order to continue to play that game, then that could be a problem, okay. Now some
countries have already identified this as a health issue. Many, including the
United Kingdom, have actually created clinics to address this type of behavior.
Now, it suggests the abnormal gaming behavior should be in evidence for
around 12 months. However, if you start to see very severe symptoms you can
diagnose it earlier than that. Now some of the criteria for the diagnosis
include, impaired control over the game- over gaming. So this means frequency,
intensity, and duration. It also states that there’s increased priority given to
gaming, right. And then a continuation or escalation of a person engaging in the
game itself. Now the ICD is used around the world and
even here in the United States, however, for mental health professionals here in
the US, we largely use something called the DSM. Which is the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of mental disorders. And that came out, actually the fifth
edition came out in 2013. Now it said that Gaming Disorder was something that
needed further exploration but didn’t give it a very specific place in in the
disorder. So you can’t be diagnosed with it and you can’t receive treatment for
it here according to the DSM, okay. So further study is is necessary and I
think that that’s where most mental health professionals and other
professionals are trying to gauge or we can really solidify that this is a
needed diagnosis. Now, I will tell you that a lot of countries, and I had
mentioned before the United Kingdom, they’re grappling with this issue.
South Korea actually has a huge gaming community and because
of an addiction that some of these people have, they’ve actually put
restrictions into place for that. There’s a law in South Korea banning access for
children under 16 years old from online games between midnight and six
o’clock in the morning. So interesting that they’ve actually moved this to the
political realm. And that’s something that if it becomes an official
diagnosis could actually seep into the dialogue for politicians in regulating
how this all works out. Japan is another country that has a lot
of gamers and they are grappling with this issue. So they actually have
instituted where players are alerted if they have been gaming for too long. That
they are playing too long. It says here players are alerted if they
spend more than a certain amount of time each month playing a game. So it’s
interesting that they can play and yet they’re being notified, kind of like
Netflix. You know you get that thing that pops up, “Are you still watching?” So
they’re getting that too in Japan saying, “Hey, are you still playing?” Well you play
too much, you know and they’re trying to regulate them. China is
probably the other one and the big internet giant over there, ten cent, has
actually limited the amount of time children can play on video games through
their service. So you can see that people have recognized that there is a problem,
and there is; but, is it gaming disorder or is it behavioral addiction? And that’s,
that’s, kind of where the debate is, is, at. Now UNICEF in 2017, so just last
year, cautioned against using the concept of addiction to apply to technology. Now
others questioned whether or not this actually replaces behavioral addiction.
Now again, is doing the game and playing the game the issue, or does the person
who’s playing the game have a behavioral addiction problem. Okay. Which one is it?
And by labeling it one, one thing, you know, are we discarding the real issue.
For example, if we were to take the person who is
diagnosed with Gaming Disorder and that person stops playing games are they
cured? Or do they move to another behavior that’s just as addicting?
Whether it’s overeating, sex, you know exercise, are they doing something else
that continues on that behavior. Are they, are they resolved here and they’re fine,
or do they actually transfer that to something else. Substance abuse would be
another one. Okay. So that’s the dialogue going on between. There’s just not enough
studies out there for us to make a concrete and universal acceptance that
this is the disorder. Gaming Disorder is the problem. Now the American
Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, did provide a
provisional diagnosis for Gaming Disorder but there were some problems
with it. Okay. They wrongly stated that gaming addiction is like alcohol or
substance abuse. And that immediately set off a firestorm with people saying, well
I don’t know, are you comparing playing a game to using heroin, or using
cocaine, or doing these illicit drugs. Are, do, are they the same? And right now there
are studies going on that are researching how games are affecting the
brain, and there are some similarities and what is being activated and how the
brain is responding to stimuli. However, to correlate the two is kind of a leap
and it’s it’s super unreliable to do that. To make comparisons that are almost
like apples and oranges, you know. So anyway, just be aware that
the discussion here in the United States is an ongoing thing as well. However with
the ICD introducing this in, it’s almost like it’s interjecting itself into the
American culture, because physicians use the ICD when they diagnose somebody.
So just be aware that that’s going on. Now, I’m gonna play devil’s advocate at
this point. There is another side to this. And I had talked about these countries
having these issues. There are instances where people have actually died playing
video games. I mean this is a real thing that has happened. I’m, for example, in
2015 a man from Taiwan, he died in an internet cafe during a gaming marathon.
Now he had been playing for three days straight, and autopsies reports found out
that he had a cardiac arrest. Now that was due largely to exhaustion
as what they say. Now, strangely he died in the internet cafe among other gamers
and nobody figured out that he was dead. That was, it was weird, but the report
said that nobody knew. It was actually a worker in the cafe that came up and
touched him and noticed that his body was stiff and then he called the
paramedics and police. And then, it was reported that when the police and
paramedics came they were shocked that none of the gamers responded or reacted
to what was happening. And they were, they said that everyone just kept playing
their game, like nobody was paying attention that some guy had died in this
internet cafe. So really, really interesting, okay. So the report said the
police paramedics arrived and other gamers continued as if nothing had
happened. Now, this death was actually the second
death in the same month, which is probably why there was an uproar, in
people saying we need some type of regulation of this industry. Or gaming
needs to be regulated, externally regulated. And that explains why there’s
a push in Asia for all these regulations in, I had mentioned, South Korea and Japan
and in China. Now, some people believe that this whole push with the World
Health Organization to make this disorder
into the ICD, is moved by political reasons, largely from these countries. Now
they’re not saying exactly which countries, but our guess is from those
countries that are having bigger problems with this issue. So you know
what is really going on because it isn’t one of those things that we’ve had a lot
of studies about, and we still need long-term studies to determine if Gaming
Disorder really is a disorder we need to address, or, if it’s really just
behavioral addiction that we’re working with. Okay. Now what does this mean to you
as a consumer or as a parent. Well, I had mentioned a lot of things of how it
could affect you. Insurance for example. And how insurance covers Gaming Disorder,
because it really is something that is preventable in that you just don’t play
a game. Could, could insurance companies come and
say, “Well, you know, here’s the stipulation and how we’re going to treat this and
what we’re gonna cover for this,” right? If your child is dealing with with that, the
other aspect is what’s happening in Asia where you’re having politicians move in
to regulate how games are being used and consumed. Now I don’t know about you, I do
like to play video games on my phone, every once in a while, or on my tablet.
It’s not, it’s not an addictive thing. I don’t, it doesn’t take precedence over
other things in my life. But to feel like the government is gonna regulate how
that works, and actually my device may shut down if i play too much, is is
bothersome to me. i just don’t feel like that is an appropriate thing for the
government to be regulating on how I consume
games. So those are some of the things that you as a parent need to to be aware
of. And whether or not Gaming Disorder needs to be diagnosed. Now again, i just
want to state there’s not a ton of studies out there. There’s a big push for
this to be included right now, but there’s not enough studies out there to
prove Gaming Disorder is an issue. And so, until
we can get that, I would err on the side of diagnosing it with behavioral
addiction. Largely, because we don’t know. And again I use that same example from
before. You know, if you stop a person with a gaming disorder from playing
video games are they cured or does that move over to a different addiction
behavior that they may have. We don’t know, right. And that’s where studies need
to come in. Okay. So, I’ve shared with you what’s kind of happening in the world of
Gaming Disordered, and this is specifically important for parents,
especially with young children. We tend to give them electronics, during
downtime, and it creates this environment where they’re being stimulated by these
devices. And how much are we creating an environment where they could possibly
become dependent on those for, to self-soothe, and to relax, and to function.
So you know, gauge yourself. Jump on the Smart Parenting website for more
information on what we’ve discussed here, and understand, and join in the dialogue
of how this is coming to fruition, especially with technology. And give us
your opinion. Is Gaming Disorder the issue, and is it a diagnosis that you
think is valid. Because we all have a friend we know that is super addicted to
video games. Or, is it a behavioral thing. Are they addicted behaviorally to things
and are they precondition to being addicted to other things, not just gaming,
but other things as well. I don’t know. Let me know. Leave comments below if
you’re watching us on YouTube. If you’re on our website you can leave a comment
on the website. You can also send us an email at [email protected] Which is super slow, but send us your comments. We would love to hear from you and get your
feedback on what is happening with this new diagnosis. And we’ll keep you updated
when they finally decide if they’re gonna include it in the ICD, we will let
you know. Alright, this is me for this week and I’ll talk to you again next week. you

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