A Screening Tool (self-tests) for Excessive Gamers

The single question is this:  Is excessive gaming affecting your real life in a negative way? Have you crossed the line, from being a "social gamer", to an "addicted gamer"? Behaviors become "addictions" when they disrupt real life, such as school or work performance, real life relationships, and activities of daily living. 

In 2018, The World Health Organisation accepted "gaming disorder" as a valid condition. In the United States, "Video game addiction" and "Internet addiction" are not yet official medical diagnoses with standardized criteria (DSM-5). 

Below, are several surveys that have been created as screenings.

The following screening was assembled by OLGA®/OLG-Anon.

It contains questions put forth by gamers and professionals. It is not a validated diagnostic tool. We suggest that this list be printed and that you focus on the overall character of your responses, rather than on a particular answer. The screening will have more benefit to you if you are honest in your responses. When you are finished, look at your list. YOU must determine if you think excessive gaming is a problem.

Are you unable to predict the time you spend gaming?
Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop your game playing?
Do you have difficulty staying away from gaming for several days at a time?
Do you feel the need to play games for increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
Do you tell yourself you can stop playing the game any time you want to, even though you keep playing when you don't mean to?
Do you often fear that life without gaming would be boring, empty, and joyless?
Have you ever decided to stop playing the game for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
Do you deny addiction to a MMORPG, but somehow still feel the need to play?
Do you feel preoccupied with gaming (do you think about previous gaming activity or anticipate your next session)?
Have you lied to family members, a therapist, or others to conceal the extent of your involvement with gaming?
Do you use gaming as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g. Feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?
Do you spend much of your free time surfing game-related websites?
Do you spend a significant amount of time outside the game in activities relating to the game?
Do you often check your gaming boards before doing other things that you need to do?
Do you find yourself flirting in the game in an attempt to build a relationship?
Do you feel your heart racing as you control your character in a flee from danger?
Do you feel a sudden rush of intense joy/sense of euphoria and relaxation after an in-game accomplishment?
Do you experience stronger emotions while in your online game than you do in real life?
Do you ever refer to yourself by the name of your In-Game character, or cling to your character's name for your emails, instant messenger, etc?
Are the majority of your friends those with whom you play games?
Do you try to find ways of playing your online game when you are not at home?
Do you occupy uninterested friends/family/partner with conversation about the game?
Do you attempt to get friends/family/partner to play, so you can play more?
Do you feel closer to your character than to your real self?
Have you withdrawn from real life hobbies?
Do you eat at the computer while gaming or do you skip meals to game?
Have your sleep patterns changed or do you lose sleep due to late-night raids/gaming?
Have you experienced physical effects from excessive gaming (e.g. carpal tunnel, eye strain, weight change, back ache, sore neck, arms, wrist)?
Do you spend real money on the purchase of in-game items?
Do you often become defensive or secretive when you are asked what you do when you are gaming?
Do you deny, rationalize and minimize the negative consequences of gaming?
Do you feel the need to "stand up for gamers" and proclaim that your life is perfect by listing all of your life's achievements, and yet still game for 4-6 hours per day?
Do you neglect household chores to spend time gaming?
Have you given up or reduced time spent at important social, occupational, or recreational activities in your real life to play the game?
Do you prefer the excitement of gaming to intimacy with your partner?
Has your excessive gaming caused trouble at home?
Have you missed work/school because of your game playing?
Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of your game playing?
Do you wish people would mind their own business about your gaming and stop telling you what to do?
Do you try to hide how long you've been gaming?
Do you often snap, yell, or act annoyed if someone interrupts you while you are gaming?
Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop your gaming? Does it go away once you have started gaming again?
Have you ever switched from one game to another in the hope it will keep you from playing so much?
Do you envy people who can play the game without getting into 'trouble'?
Do you feel guilt, shame, anxiety or depression around the time you spend gaming?
Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not play the game so much?


The following survey was published by a research study at the Iowa State University conducted by Douglas Gentile, PhD [1]. The following questions are based on diagnostic criteria for addictive gambling behavior.

Use this survey as a guide to determine if video games and/or Internet use may be a problem in your life, but do not use the survey to make a "clinical diagnosis".

  1. Over time, have you been spending much more time playing video games, learning about video game playing, or planning the next opportunity to play?
  2. Do you need to spend more time and money on video games in order to feel the same amount of excitement as other activities in your life?
  3. Have you tried to play video games for shorter durations of times but have been unsuccessful?
  4. Do you become restless or irritable when you attempt to cut down or stop playing video games?
  5. Have you played video games as a way to escape problems or negative feelings?
  6. Have you lied to family or friends about how much you play video games?
  7. Have you ever stolen a video game from a store or a friend, or stolen money to buy a video game?
  8. Do you sometimes skip household chores in order to play more video games?
  9. Do you sometimes skip homework or work in order to play more video games?
  10. Have you ever done poorly on a school assignment, test, or work assignment because you have spent so much time playing video games?
  11. Have you ever needed friends or family to give you extra money because you've spent too much of your own money on video games, software, or game Internet fees?

If you answered "yes" to six or more of these questions, then you most likely have an addiction to video games. If "yes" is answered to five or less questions, then there may be a problem. Help can be found on this resources page. 


The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction in this way:

August 15, 2011 Page 1 American Society of Addiction, Medicine Public Policy Statement: Short Definition of Addiction: "Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads tocharacteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death."

Finally, from the following reference:

Brown, R.I.F. (1991). Gaming, gambling and other addictive play. In J.H. Kerr & M.J. Apter (Eds.), Adult place: A reversal theory approach (pp. 101aEU"118). Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.vBrown's core facets of addiction:

These were summarized nicely by Dr. Douglas Gentile in his new national study on youth gaming...

  • Salience - the activity dominates the person's life, cognitively or behaviourly
  • Euphoria or relief - provides 'high' or relief of unpleasant feelings
  • Tolerance - over time, a greater amount of the activity is needed to achieve the same 'high'
  • Withdrawal Symptoms - the person experiences unpleasant feelings or negative emotions when unable to engage in the activity
  • Conflict - other people, work, obligations, self (cognitive dissonance)
  • Relapse and reinstatement - the person continues or starts again despite attempts to abstain