Trapped in another world

Health Technology

The numbers of patients taking treatment for gaming addiction are increasing in the city.

By Abhinav Kumar

SHUT (Service for Healthy Use of Technology) Clinic at NIMHANS Bengaluru has seen 720 patients in 2017-18 obsessed with online gaming in computers, play stations and smartphones. Aman, a patient of SHUT clinic, said, “Before getting the treatment, I was playing games for nine to 12 hours daily. This addiction affected   my health and in the absence of gaming, I felt a sense of dissatisfaction.”

Ritik, a school student, said, “I play multiple online games like PUBG, DOTA 2 for at least six hours daily.” On January 252019, Bombay High Court had ordered the Central Government to intervene in the matter of online game “PUBG”. PUBG had then reduced the game play duration upto six hours a day for Indian servers.    

 Arpana Singh, Ritik’s mother, said, “Due to gaming habit, he always skips meal, and feels irritated when anyone tries to talk. It is also affecting his studies.”

In June, 2019, World Health Organization (WHO) categorized addiction to gaming as a mental health disorder. In the manual, International Classification of Diseases, WHO describes gaming addiction, digital or video games as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior that becomes so extensive that it takes precedence over other life interests”.

Dr. Ravi Prasad, Doctor of Prakash Psychiatry and Psychology Services, said, “In the digital era, phone and computer has emerged as boon for the community by making their life easier. It is also proving itself bane for youngsters, who indulge themselves completely in gaming deprived of worldly duties and responsibilities, now this emerged as a mental disease. There are many reports to prove it. Recently we have seen a case where a child killed his father for not allowing him to play.”

Dr. Manoj Kumar Sharma, Professor of SHUT Clinic, said, “I am treating around 11 to 12 patients for digital gaming addiction every week. This includes mostly young children and a few of them are adults.”

“In today’s world we cannot ignore the online content which is revolving around in our day-to-day life but parents must encourage their children to play outdoor games and teach them to use gadgets, phone productively,” he added.