Esport athletes spend most of their day practicing. They also sacrifice other things in order to make time for practice. Does this make them addicted to video games? Are they considered to have a gaming disorder? Well, to answer this question we must first identify what gaming disorder is.
In 2013 the American Psychological Association (APA) released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders. This book is used by health care professionals in the United States and other parts of the world as a guide to help identify mental disorders. When the book was released the APA did not have enough research to classify addiction to gaming as a mental disorder. They did, however, classify it under recommending conditions for further research (American Psychological Association). This changed in 2018 when the World Health Organization identified addiction to gaming as a disorder. They stated that gaming disorder is when “priority is given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences” (The World Health Organization).
Although esport athletes do prioritize gaming over many things, they do not meet other qualifications. Other proposed symptoms include withdrawal symptoms when one stops playing, inability to reduce playing time, no longer participating in previous enjoyed activates, and continuing to play video games even with issues present (American Psychological Association). So back to the question at hand, do esport athletes have a gaming disorder? No, however, as every mental health disorder, everyone has their own unique case. So, if you believe that yourself or someone you know might have a gaming disorder it is best to consult your doctor.
Even though there are no documented cases of esport athletes being diagnose with this mental disorder it is still necessary to take precautions. It is crucial to always prioritize one’s wellbeing. As time goes on more research will be conducted allowing us to understand gaming disorder and possible ways to prevent it.