In my opinion, excessive anything can be a mental health disorder and the first thing I thought when Dr Anthony Bean told me about this declaration from the World Health Organization in our interview last year was “oh no, they’re gonna go too far with this.” It’s much too early to tell how clinicians around the world will interpret this, but my biggest fear is how people define “obsessive”. There’s some obvious ones: People who play for days strait without sleep can be considered excessive, but what about people who play all-day marathons? How about the people who will play all weekend, but the rest of their lives are perfectly stable; On time to work, bills paid, functioning members of society, etc.
My defiant nature always leaves me with my middle finger in the air towards classifications like this, but I really hope this classification will be used as a tool for clinicians who aren’t familiar with gaming culture to better understand their patients. Luckily, there’s people out there like Dr. Bean who’s book has already sold out on Amazon and will hopefully point mainstream therapists in the right direction when treating gamers.
As always, if you feel you might want to talk to someone regarding any issues you’re feeling, don’t hesitate to reach out – Check out Psychology Today and look for a few people near you that you might think are a good fit…just don’t forget to email more than one person, in case the first is a dud ;p