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Diagnosing Computer/Internet Gaming Addiction
Computer/Internet addiction is not a recognized mental health condition in the United States. The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (version 5) has now introduced computer gaming addiction (Internet Gaming Disorder) as a possible mental illness and is proposing further study. Regardless, this has been controversial and many clinicians are skeptical about its very existence. Although there is scant research support in the United States, parents and significant others of individuals experiencing serious problematic computer/video gaming excesses seldom need convincing. Since a proper diagnosis helps guide treatment, we propose a set of diagnostic criteria similar to other addictive behaviors. It differs from others in that it actually factors in the amount of time engaged in computer gaming or related activites.
Computer Gaming Disorder Diagnosis (proposed)
Maladaptive pattern of computer/video gaming leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as manifested itself in the following occurring over the same 12 month period:
  1. Computer/video gaming or game-related activities for more than 25 hours per week
  1. 4 or more of the following symptoms related to computer/video game use:
    1. Declining academic or occupational performance
    2. Irritability, anxiety and depressive symptoms when unable to use
    3. Inability to limit use when necessary despite negative consequences
    4. Significant time spent thinking about computer/video gaming when not using or experiencing cravings for use
    5. Important social, academic, occupational or recreational activities are given up or reduced
    6.      to accommodate use
    7. Personal hygiene or physical health problems related to use
    8. Relationship problems and interpersonal conflict over use
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