Video game addiction (VGA) is a hypothetical behavioral addiction characterized by excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games, which interferes with a person's everyday life. Video game addiction may present itself as compulsive gaming, social isolation, mood swings, diminished imagination, and hyper-focus on in-game achievements, to the exclusion of other events in life.
In May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) proposed criteria for video game addiction in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, concluding that there was insufficient evidence to include it as an official mental disorder. However, proposed criteria for "Internet Gaming Disorder" were included in a section called "Conditions for Further Study".
While Internet gaming disorder is proposed as a disorder, it is still discussed how much this disorder is caused by the gaming activity itself, or whether it is to some extent an effect of other disorders. Contradictions in research examining video game addictiveness may reflect more general inconsistencies in video game research. For example, while some research has linked violent video games with increased aggressive behavior other research has failed to find evidence for such links.
What Causes an Addiction to Video Games?
Many different causes factor into video game addiction. One of the main reasons that video games can become so addictive, however, is they are designed to be that way. Video game designers, like anyone else trying to make a profit, are always looking for ways to get more people playing their games. They accomplish this by making a game just challenging enough to keep you coming back for more but not so hard that the player eventually gives up. In other words, success for a gamer often feels just out of reach. In this respect, video game addiction is very similar to another more widely recognized disorder: gambling addiction.