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"Video game addiction" and "Internet addiction" are not yet official medical diagnoses with standardized criteria. Behaviors become "addictions" when they disrupt real life, such as school or work performance, real life relationships, and activities of daily living.
The following survey was published by a research study at the Iowa State University conducted by Douglas Gentile, PhD . 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".
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.
Internet Addiction Test (IAT) created by Dr. Kimberly Young, a psychologist and world renowned Internet addiction expert.
The Internet Addiction Test (IAT) is the first VALIDATED test for Internet Addiction to measure Internet use in terms of mild, moderate, to several levels of addiction.
Based upon the following five-point likert scale, select the response that best represents the frequency of the behavior described in the following 20-item questionnaire.
0 = Not Applicable
1 = Rarely
2 = Occasionally
3 = Frequently
4 = Often
5 = Always
___How often do you find that you stay online longer than you intended?
___How often do you neglect household chores to spend more time online?
___How often do you prefer the excitement of the Internet to intimacy with your partner?
___How often do you form new relationships with fellow online users?
___How often do others in your life complain to you about the amount of time you spend online?
___How often do your grades or school work suffer because of the amount of time you spend online?
___How often do you check your e-mail before something else that you need to do?
___How often does your job performance or productivity suffer because of the Internet?
___How often do you become defensive or secretive when anyone asks you what you do online?
___How often do you block out disturbing thoughts about your life with soothing thoughts of the Internet?
___How often do you find yourself anticipating when you will go online again?
___How often do you fear that life without the Internet would be boring, empty, and joyless?
___How often do you snap, yell, or act annoyed if someone bothers you while you are online?
___How often do you lose sleep due to late-night log-ins?
___How often do you feel preoccupied with the Internet when off-line, or fantasize about being online?
___How often do you find yourself saying “just a few more minutes” when online?
___How often do you try to cut down the amount of time you spend online and fail?
___How often do you try to hide how long you’ve been online?
___How often do you choose to spend more time online over going out with others?
___How often do you feel depressed, moody, or nervous when you are off-line, which goes away once you are back online?
After all the questions have been answered, add the numbers for each response to obtain a final score. The higher the score, the greater the level of addiction and creation of problems resultant from such Internet usage. The severity impairment index is as follows:
NONE 0 – 30 points
MILD 31- 49 points: You are an average online user. You may surf the Web a bit too long at times, but you have control over your usage.
MODERATE 50 -79 points: You are experiencing occasional or frequent problems because of the Internet. You should consider their full impact on your life.
SEVERE 80 – 100 points: Your Internet usage is causing significant problems in your life. You should evaluate the impact of the Internet on your life and address the problems directly caused by your Internet usage.
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.
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.
Brown'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