Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Gaming disorder may contribute to divorce

It is often challenging to identify all the actions, decisions and feelings that contribute to the end of a marriage. While infidelity and financial arguments are frequent causes, these are not the only things that may contribute to a divorce. Addiction to video games, also known as gaming disorder, may be a cause of divorce. However, it is also possible to treat gaming disorders. Before a couple files for divorce in New Jersey, it may be helpful to determine if gaming addiction is a factor.

One of the most recent video games to cause marriage issues is "Fortnite." According to CNBC, over 200 United Kingdom couples in 2018 listed a spouse's addiction to the online game as a factor in the decision to file for divorce. Although the 200 couples who cited gaming addiction as a factor only represent a fraction of the overall divorce statistics, this number is still important in that it indicates gaming addiction may have consequences as severe as more common issues such as alcoholism and drug usage.

Over the last few years, the effects of extensive video game usage and the potential for addiction to gaming have become serious issues. The World Health Organization officially recognized gaming disorder as a disease in 2018. The WHO definition states that people with this disorder may struggle to control their gaming, giving it priority over other activities to a level that leads to negative consequences. Gaming disorder may severely impact personal and family relationships. In some cases, this relationship damage may lead to a divorce.

Because gaming disorder is now a recognized disease, there may be more focus on treatment programs in the future. Additionally, health professionals may have more tools to diagnose the condition, and there may be more support for people with the disease and their spouses. These new resources may help reduce the negative consequences of gaming addiction, including the marital problems that often lead to divorce.

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