Hello Craig, tell us your experience.
Well, some time ago before I moved to a new home with my partner before my little girl was born, I use to play a game called ‘World of Warcraft’. We started playing right from the very start, what we now call Vanilla WOW. We made loads of online acquaintances and some friends over the many years we played.
We use to go online with our breakfast in hand, and play right from the morning to bedtime, this was the very early hours, say around 2 or 3 am. We use to arrange our days so we would be online to Raid and do social events, we used to go online just to talk to what we called friends. In the end, we created our own guild, a website, and even got a Ventrilo server to chat with people online instead of typing.
Our whole day would work around our time in the game, we ignored our friends, quit our jobs, or if we were working, we would go home and straight to WOW. It was like a nonstop rollercoaster ride.
Well, Craig, as you know the ‘International Classification of Diseases (ICD)’ has now classified this as a mental disorder would you agree? or do you disagree, also below are what they are looking for in this disorder?
- impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity, duration)
- increased priority is given to gaming
- continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences
Well, it would be down to each individual, for me, no, I quit ‘World of Warcraft’ when I got bored and now when I play it, I only play for a few hours at a time and I can easily switch it off and do something else. If, someone was to diagnose me back when I was playing wow, I guess all the above I would fit into easily.
First one frequency, intensity, duration – I would play every day from morning to night
The Second one, increased priority given to gaming – My life would work around the game, not game work around life, I would eat while playing the game, I would work my days out around the game, there was not a time where the game did not take priority over real life.
The Third one, continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences, I ignored friends, family and even a job opportunity just to play wow, it even got to a point when my relationship was on rocky grounds and I still did not care, as I had friends in this game, that where always online, always available.
When I finally quit wow, I found out who were my true friends, not the ones that were just coasting along for the loot and even now, they are still close friends, but none of them plays wow anymore, well if they do, it is nowhere near the length of time they use to.
So back to your question is gaming a mental disorder, yes and no, its all down to the individual and their self-confidence and willpower to move forward and past an addiction that is taking over there lives. It is like any addiction, you have to take back control and not let it control you.
Trust me, I did not see playing ‘World of Warcraft’ as an addiction till, I quit, and looked back at the hours and years I had wasted, the friends I had lost or ignored, the job I had turned down, everything hits home, when you can finally open your mind and see what something was doing to you and not you have control back, its like someone switched on a light bulb in your head and everything became clear.
Now I can play any game, switch any game off and do anything I want, a game no longer controls me I control it.
In defence of Blizzard, they do tell you to take breaks and other quotes that we do read, but also get ignored.