Loss of appetite, erratic sleeping patterns and antisocial behavior are among the first signs that a person has become addicted to gambling, mental health experts said on Thursday and warned that children are also becoming addicted to it. prey.
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Their comments are gaining prominence as a 16-year-old boy in Lucknow allegedly shot and killed his mother when she stopped him from playing the PUBG online game. He kept his body hidden in the house for two days, police said Wednesday.
Mental health experts at major hospitals across the country have agreed that the “high” an addict, young or old, gets from continuously playing video games is akin to the “rush” experienced by someone who resorts to drug addiction.
Dr. Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, told PTI that “children as young as 12 or 13 years old are becoming addicted to gambling, and although it is largely a young male population that fall prey to it, many young girls are also now becoming addicted”.
He said gambling addiction is one of the disorders defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) ICD-11 classification.
Gaming disorder is defined in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital gaming” or “video gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gambling over other activities as gambling takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and the continuation or escalation of gambling despite the onset of negative consequences, according to the website of WHO.
Parikh said the Lucknow incident should be treated as an “extreme case” in the context of gambling addiction, as there could also be other factors or trigger points.
The boy, who was addicted to online gambling, was furious after his mother demanded he stop gambling and shot her with his father’s licensed gun, police said.
The miner hid the body in a room for two days before notifying his father, they said.
“A game addict, especially a teenager, will show red flags, and parents and teachers in schools should be careful. Parents should monitor a child’s screen time in a day, and should also pay attention to other behavioral patterns,” he said.
If a person has become addicted, the first signs would be loss of appetite, erratic sleeping patterns, and unsocial behaviors, such as not mingling with friends, staying away, or possibly poor school performance. and bad temper, said the doctor.
“I think the gaming industry should come forward and create some sort of early warning mechanism to make sure their users don’t cross the line, in the name of entertainment,” he added.
Dr Puja Pushkarna, Clinical Psychologist, Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad, agreed with Parikh and suggested that counseling sessions be held in schools for children and their parents.
“A person, adult or adolescent, can be addicted to anything, cigarettes, tobacco, mobile phones, social media and video games. It is worrying that young girls are also becoming addicted to games.
“People want to live in a fantasy world to avoid harsh realities and feel like a king in a virtual world, which affects their mental health,” she told PTI.
Pushkarna said the advent of social media has made things even more difficult as “addictive content” is constantly bombarded which can affect a person subliminally or subconsciously.
“Even social media addiction affects mental health, and early signs should be kept in mind by parents. And, if family intervention does not work, doctors should be consulted,” she said. added.
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