The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has necessitated physical distancing, lockdown, contact tracing, and self-quarantine so as to prevent the spread of the disease. Amid the outbreak, gaming data usage has reportedly increased in the United States, and game download volume has reached a record high in Europe. Because gaming can be used to cope with the psychological stress from the outbreak, therefore mental health professionals should be aware of how increased gaming during the pandemic may contribute to risk of gaming disorder, especially if the pandemic persists. Mental health professionals should thus formulate safe social interaction alternatives for people, particularly adolescents, who have gaming disorder risk.
In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) included the diagnostic criteria of Internet gaming disorder (IGD). Then, in 2019, the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) categorized gaming disorder (GD) as an addictive disorder. This review aimed to review the raised concerns, debate, and research of IGD or GD criteria and provide suggestions to resolve them.
A narrative review was conducted, and PubMed was searched for articles mentioning concerns and research on the DSM-5 criteria for IGD, ICD-11 criteria for GD, or criteria for other synonyms, such as problematic gaming or gaming addiction. A total of 107 articles were identified.
Concerns were organized into three categories: conceptual framework, moral panic, and diagnostic validity. Most argumentations supported the proposition that GD and other substance use disorders have similar presentations. A clear definition of GD and adequate public education could prevent rather than exacerbate moral panic. Several researchers reported concerns regarding the nosology, diagnostic validity, and wording of each criterion. However, the threshold, five of the nine criteria with impaired function, demonstrated adequate validity in interview studies.
The current findings support the addiction framework, functional impairment, and validity of the GD criteria. However, further prospective, experimental, and clinical studies validating these findings are warranted. Moreover, an integrative review or debate conference could contribute to the organization of the available results and concept development. Aggregating adequate scientific information could allay or resolve concerns related to the diagnosis of GD.
This study evaluates the association between generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and the role of behavior inhibition in young adults.
We recruited 87 people with IGD and a control group of 87 people without a history of IGD. All participants underwent a diagnostic interview based on the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, IGD and GAD criteria, and completed a questionnaire on behavior inhibition, depression, and anxiety.
Logistic regression revealed that adults with GAD were more likely (odds ratio = 8.11, 95% CI = 1.78−37.09) to have IGD than those without it. The OR decreased when controlling for behavior inhibition. IGD subjects with GAD had higher depressive and anxiety score than those without GAD.
GAD was associated with IGD. Comorbid GAD can contribute to higher emotional difficulty. GAD should be well-assessed and interventions planned when treating young adults with IGD. Behavioral inhibition confounds the association between GAD and IGD. Further study is necessary to evaluate how to intervene in behavioral inhibitions to attenuate the risk of GAD and IGD comorbidity.
This study evaluated the consistency between the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Edition (ICD-11) for gaming disorder (ICD-11-GD) and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria for internet gaming disorder (DSM-5-IGD). Moreover, the functional impairment of participants and their insight of their GD were evaluated.
We recruited 60 participants with GD, 45 participants who engaged in hazardous gaming (HG), and 120 controls based on a diagnostic interview. Their operationalization of functional impairment and stage of change were evaluated by interviews and questionnaires, including the Brief Gaming Negative Consequence Scale (BGNCS).
We observed satisfactory consistency (kappa value = 0.80) with a diagnostic accuracy of 91.5% between the ICD-11-GD and DSM-5-IGD criteria. Furthermore, 16 participants with IGD in DSM-5 were determined to have HG based on the ICD-11 criteria. Participants of GD group experienced impaired functioning in their health (96.7%), career (73.3%), social life (61.6%), academic performance (36.7%), and job performance (35%). Moreover, a proportion of them were in the pre-contemplation (25.0%), contemplation (61.7%), preparation (10%), and action stages (3.3%).
There is a good consistency between ICD-11-GD and DSM-5-IGD criteria. The ICD-11 criteria have a high threshold for diagnosing GD. HG criteria could compensate for this high threshold and identify individuals with a gaming-related functional impairment who require help. Most of the participants with GD were in the early stage of change. Interventions to promote their insight are essential. The BGNCS can be used to examine the negative consequences of gaming and aid mental health professionals in assessing functional impairment.
The study explores IGD withdrawal-related presentations, including autonomic reaction, affective symptoms, anhedonia, and gaming urge during abstinence from gaming. We prospectively evaluated these withdrawal-related symptoms (WRS) and gaming craving during abstinence from gaming.
We examined 69 individuals with IGD and 69 regular gamers and evaluated their WRS (using an exploratory questionnaire), affective and behavioral WRS (using the Questionnaire on Gaming Urge-Brief Version gaming disorder questionnaire), and heart rate. All the participants attempted to abstain from gaming before our assessment. Subsequently, some participants’ WRS and gaming craving before they engaged in gaming were prospectively evaluated.
In the IGD group, 85.5% experienced gaming WRS, including affective, anhedonia, and gaming urge symptoms. They could relieve these symptoms through gaming. The IGD group experienced more severe gaming WRS, gaming craving, and a higher heart rate than the regular gamer group. Gaming urge was most associated WRS of IGD. Participants with IGD experienced more severe gaming cravings when their gaming abstinence before the assessment was shorter. WRS attenuated at night and the following morning when they maintained their gaming abstinence after assessment.
Individuals with IGD experience withdrawal-related affective, anhedonia, and gaming urge symptoms and a higher heart rate during abstinence. The WRS attenuated in 1 day. Most participants agreed that these symptoms could be relieved through gaming. Further prospective evaluation by objective assessment in an adequate sample was required to understand gaming withdrawal symptoms comprehensively.
The eleventh revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) defines the three key diagnostic criteria for gaming disorder (GD). These are loss of control over gaming, gaming as a priority over daily activities, and impaired functioning due to gaming. While this definition has implications for the prevention and treatment of GD, there is significant heterogeneity in the symptoms and etiology of GD among individuals, which results in different treatment needs. Cognitive control, emotional regulation, and reward sensitivity are three critical dimensions in the etiology model for GD. Aspects such as gender, comorbidity, motivation for gaming, stage or severity of GD, and risk factors all contribute to the heterogeneity of etiology among individuals with the disorder.
On the basis of clinical symptoms and comorbidity characteristics among approximately 400 patients with gaming disorder, the present paper proposes a clinical typology of patients with GD based on the authors' clinical experience in treating individuals with GD.
The findings indicated three common types of patients with GD: (i) impulsive male patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), (ii) dysphoria patients with dysfunctional coping skills, and (iii) isolated patients with social anxiety. The paper also discusses the presentation and treatment priority for these patients.
Personalized treatments for patients with GD should be developed to fit their individual needs. Future studies should examine the heterogeneity of GD and confirm these types, as well as obtain evidence-based information that can help in the development of personalized treatment. Treatment resources should be developed, and professionals should be trained to provide integrated individualized treatment.