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.