Will Gaming Addiction Become Official?

By Valerie Tejeda 04/03/13

Experts hope the new DSM will recognize the increasingly common disorder.

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Many health professionals hope gaming addiction will be included in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), to be released this May. “People’s lives completely fall apart, and there are people who die from [gaming addiction],” says Hilarie Cash, a tech-addiction expert who runs ReStart, a rehab for gaming and Internet addiction in Seattle, Washington. Cash says that addiction to video games has been linked to fatal blood clots, heart attacks, and death from sleep deprivation. And people with disabilities are at a higher risk for becoming dependent, especially those with ADHD and Asperger's syndrome. “There’s a lot of things that we can’t do, and when we find something that makes us feel in control, we take it. We abuse it,” says 24-year-old Drew Nordman, who lives with spinal muscular dystrophy. He says video games can serve as an "outlet" for people who live with a disability. Before overcoming his addiction, Nordman used to play video games for five to seven hours a day. “You become the character. You make all the choices," he says, "It’s really engrossing and what I find the most satisfying.” With technology becoming more ingrained in contemporary culture, video game addiction is more prevalent than ever. “I believe it is on the rise, primarily due to smartphones,” says Cash. 

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.