The paper “Chaos and confusion in DSM-5 diagnosis of Internet Gaming Disorder: Issues, concerns, and recommendations for clarity in the field” by Kuss, Griffiths, and Pontes (in press) critically examines the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and addresses the issue of whether IGD should be reconceptualized as gaming disorder, regardless of whether video games are played online or offline. This commentary provides additional critical perspectives on the concept of IGD.
The focus of this commentary is on the addiction model on which the concept of IGD is based, the nature of the DSM-5 criteria for IGD, and the inclusion of withdrawal symptoms and tolerance as the diagnostic criteria for IGD.
The addiction framework on which the DSM-5 concept of IGD is based is not without problems and represents only one of multiple theoretical approaches to problematic gaming. The polythetic, non-hierarchical DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for IGD make the concept of IGD unacceptably heterogeneous. There is no support for maintaining withdrawal symptoms and tolerance as the diagnostic criteria for IGD without their substantial revision.
The addiction model of IGD is constraining and does not contribute to a better understanding of the various patterns of problematic gaming. The corresponding diagnostic criteria need a thorough overhaul, which should be based on a model of problematic gaming that can accommodate its disparate aspects.