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How I was Diagnosed With Gaming Disorder?

By Alberto Vargas
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Everyone has a story to tell about their addiction. I’m Cody, and I’m a video gamer. I’ve loved gaming ever since I got the hang of it – which was just when my generation started paying a lot of attention to the video gaming industry. 

The question, ‘is gaming an addiction’, often generates mixed reactions, but research by the WHO has proven that gaming mental disorder is possible. Video game addiction statistics state that only a small proportion of gamers get the disorder, and I was unlucky to be among the few. 

Being an introvert in an extrovert world life wasn’t easy growing up in a crowded neighborhood. I was what you’d call a social misfit. I hated getting attention or having to play around with my mates then because I was rather big for my age group. That combined with the fact that I was a nerd, it was a catastrophe. I was the object of mockery and relentless banter. Things like that made me prefer to stay home and do my thing – which was gaming on mini-consoles until I saved up enough to get a console for myself. 

After my first console, everything changed. With the advancement in technology, internet gaming was possible, and right there, I got my perfect getaway from people. I felt alive in my game’s avatars, and it was possible to play with virtual friends and build social relationships without the need for physical acquaintance. It was the perfect alternative to reality for me.

With time, I upgraded from one console to another, but I found that I enjoyed PC gaming the most due to easier access to component upgrades and the ability to run more demanding games such as World of Warcraft – my favorite at the time.

Also, I had enough time during the long days to grow my addiction since I only worked nights at a hotel. My gaming pattern was formed to allow at least seven hours of gaming every day, which grew to 8,9,10 up till twelve hours. I had become a chronic gamer. A lot of times, I caught myself thinking about gaming strategies and new releases while at work. Every chance I got, I would be in my little virtual world, punching buttons. I would skip important events just to play games, and it took a while before I allowed myself to think about the fact that I was exhibiting video gaming addiction symptoms. 

As my gaming addiction grew, the things that I did to get gaming hours became more ridiculous. I started to skip work just to increase my gaming time. Since my social life was built on internet gaming with my virtual friends, my internet gaming addiction grew to the extent that I would be extremely agitated if I couldn’t see any friend to play with online.

Gaming became my main priority, even when I realized the dangers it posed to my health. I had a bad body posture, I was eating unhealthily, no exercises, I was overweight, and I had no personal relationships with people – all of which are classic features of a gaming addiction disorder. 

My gaming disorder was confirmed to me after I took a video game addiction test. My mom had gotten sick of seeing me spend long hours in front of the screen, and she made me take the test after she noticed my video gaming addiction and how unhealthy-looking it had made me. After my diagnosis, I started treatment for my video game disorder. I have no idea how much longer this would’ve gone on if I hadn’t taken that test and started to try to turn my life around.

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