Addicts lose sight of normal relationships
The decision of the World Heath Organisation to designate gaming addiction as a mental health disorder will help those for whom the activity is causing them to neglect other areas of their life, a leading psychiatrist has claimed.
Dr Brendan Kelly, professor of psychiatry in Trinity College, said people are at risk of losing sight of normal relationships.
The biggest problem for people addicted to gaming is their disregard for other parts of their life. The addiction can lead to personal dysfunction or distress as well as a rigid and unchanging pattern of behaviour, he said.
Although they can play the game with people in other countries it mostly tends to be not social, he pointed out.
"It tends to reward solitariness and anonymous relationships," he said.
"Gaming seems to lend itself more to this imbalance. It is more common in younger people but moving into other age groups.
"When you are declaring anything to be a psychiatric condition you are trying to take the suffering seriously on the one hand.
"How we use it determines whether it is stigmatising or not.
"If we are using it to organise some support it is good.
"People can link up with each other. It allows psychologists to study what is best.
"This can be done by psychological support or cognitive therapy."
People who are treated will not necessarily have to give up gaming but get their behaviour under control, pointed out Prof Kelly.