Internet Gaming Disorder

Internet Gaming Disorder is an addiction to online video games, role-playing games, or any interactive gaming environment available through the Internet. Online games such “Grand Theft Auto”, “World of Warcraft”, the “Dark Age of Camelot”, or “Diablo II” – dubbed “heroinware” by some players – can pose much more complex problems. Extensive chat features give such games a social aspect missing from offline activities, and the collaborative/competitive nature of working with or against other players can make it hard to take a break.

A New Parental Concern

Parents are increasingly alarmed about their sons and daughters online gaming habits. Since studying Internet addiction, I have treated hundreds of video game addiction cases. Video games and Internet gaming in general has become big business!

I have worked with counselers across the country unfamiliar with Internet gaming addiction and don’t understand how treat it. As one monther explained that she had talked to her son’s guidance counselors, the school psychologist, and two  addiction rehabilitation centers. “No one had ever heard of someone getting addicted to X-Box Live,” she said. “They all told me it was a phase and that I should try to limit my son’s game playing. They didn’t understand that I couldn’t. He had lost touch with reality. My son lost interest in everything else. He didn’t want to eat, sleep, or go to school, the game was the only thing that mattered to him.”

Parents often feel alone and scared as their children become hooked to something that no one seems to understand. “My son’s counselor told me to just turn off the computer,” another mother explained. “That was like telling the parent of an alcoholic son to tell him to just stop drinking. We felt like no one was taking us seriously that our son had a real problem.”

Signs of Internet Gaming Disorder

Gamers who become hooked show clear signs of addiction. Like a drug, gamers who play almost every day, play for extended periods of time (over 4 hours), get restless or irritable if they can’t play, and sacrifice other social activities just to game are showing signs of addiction. Take our Video and Internet Gaming Disorder Test

Warning signs include:

  • A preoccupation with gaming
  • Lying or hiding gaming use
  • Disobedience at time limits
  • Social withdrawal from family and friends
  • See full list of symptoms


As reported in the May 2009 edition of the journal Psychological Science, a study by Iowa State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Douglas Gentile has revealed that more than 8 percent of gamers between the ages of 8 and 18 exhibit symptoms of video game addiction (or what he terms “pathological behavior”.

Larger than the Hollywood movie industry, video games are the fastest growing form of media entertainment. With their use of cutting edge technologies, video games involve the player in ever-more realistic, complex, and involved gaming situations. Because of their high appeal playing video games can be highly rewarding and also potentially addictive.

Dr. Young provides evidenced-based therapy for video games and gaming addiction. You can arrange private counseling sessions or inpatient care.  Gamers find new goals through treatment and find acceptance, respect, and recognition in real life that was replaced by gaming. The program also provides training and help for parents struggling with an addicted son or daughter.