Addiction is complex and often co-occurs with an underlying mental health condition. In treatment, addiction and mental health must be addressed simultaneously for the best outcome in recovery. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced, “gaming disorder as a new mental health condition included in the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases,” which was released Monday, June 18, 2018.

The WHO says the new diagnosis affects individuals who have lost control over their gaming habits, leading them to neglect everything else in their lives, remaining stuck in virtual worlds even as problems in the real world resulting from their addiction become apparent.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), “Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.” It also states, “Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

A gaming addiction causes adverse effects on mental health. A person with a gaming addiction exhibits excessive gaming behavior that takes precedence over other life interests, responsibilities, and loved ones. When a person has a gaming addiction, his or her control over gaming is impaired and he or she continues the behavior despite any consequences.

Psychologist Michael Fraser told CBS News gaming addiction can be connected to other mental health issues. He stated, “They may be depressed. They may be anxious. They may be socially anxious. What these video games provide for these children is a social outlet where they don’t have to leave their house.”

Many games that are played online involve avatars or characters created by the player. This acts as an escape from the real world, into a fantasy world by allowing the person to be someone other than his or herself. Sometimes, players meet other people or characters to interact with during games, which can evolve into an online relationship.

Gaming limits real-world human interaction and gives the player a false sense of security. In-person interaction with people beyond cyberspace is important for the development of relationships, nurturing mental health, and learning to be a productive member of society.

Do not let addiction destroy your life. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, get help today. Nexus Recovery Services specializes in addiction treatment and encompasses holistic therapy for the mind, body, and soul with a focus on staying active and connected to nature. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life of sobriety. We offer a free and confidential consultation. Call us to get started: 310-881-9151

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