Gaming Disorder

Is it addiction or is it just overuse of video gaming? Let me help you figure it out.

Some reasons why people plays video games so much:

  • They have acquired a lot of skill in a game
  • The game is exciting
  • They may struggle with an untreated anxiety, depression, attention or learning difficulty.
  • They may be isolated, bullied, or lacking the social skills needed to engage with people in the world.
  • They socialize with friends while playing the game in person or with online friends.
  • They use it for stress release.
  • It’s fun!

“Gaming Disorder” is characterized by

Impaired control over gaming, increasing priority 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.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months”.

This is the way that all behavioral addictions are diagnosed – shopping, gambling etc. They have the same ability to be just a hobby or an addiction. So, is it a video game  addiction?


It is important to me to figure out the specific underlying reasons why each person games so that we can work on healing and changing behaviors (that they want to change) together. I look at the whole person. What’s going on? Are they having to  make a hard transition in life? Could there be depression, anxiety or a difficulty like ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, a Learning Disability, bullying, unmet needs. Are they avoiding something?

I use standardized tests to determine if someone’s video gaming has tipped over from frequent use to actual gaming disorder or video gaming addiction.

Counselling Guelph treatment room
Mary Cross, MSW, RSW, Psychotherapist


In order to reduce or eliminate problem behavior (that they identify), clients need to recognize that they have a problem and want to change it. We can work on this together. I can help clients figure out what they really want to be doing and achieving, and support them to move toward their goals.

Initial assessment is 90 minutes and my fee is $125. Subsequent sessions are 55 minutes and my fee is $125. After awhile we can do check in sessions to see how tools, techniques and goals are coming along. Check in 30 minute sessions are $70.  You can book online for in-person appointments or if you are too far away or prefer an online session, you can also book online.


 I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to email me your questions.