Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a relatively common, if not always recognized, disorder that is often associated with significant distress and impairment in functioning. Due to stigma and lack of recognition, individuals with OCD often must wait many years before they receive a correct diagnosis and indicated treatment. In severe presentations, this disorder is quite disabling and is appropriately characterized as an example of severe and persistent mental illness.
The individual expresses either obsessions or compulsions. Obsessions are defined by the following 4 criteria.
- Recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images are experienced at some time during the disturbance as intrusive and inappropriate and cause marked anxiety and distress. Those with this disorder recognize the craziness of these unwanted thoughts (such as fears of hurting their children) and would not act on them, but the thoughts are very disturbing and difficult to tell others about.
- The thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems.
- The person attempts to suppress or ignore such thoughts, impulses, or images or to neutralize them with some other thought or action.
- The person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of his/her own mind (not imposed from without, as in thought insertion)
Compulsions are defined by the following 2 criteria:
- The person performs repetitive behaviors (eg, hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (eg, praying, counting, repeating words silently) in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.
- The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are meant to neutralize or prevent or they are clearly excessive.
There are many different types of obsessions, and many people with OCD will have more than one type of obsession. An example of common obsessions which might not or might be directly related to playing video games is the Need for symmetry/exactness.
Adults with this obsession feel a need to have objects placed in a certain order or position, or tasks or events to be completed in a set way. Person with perfectionism are with Symmetry OCD.
In the case where video games causes an Obsession or a compulsion, this depends on what type of video games are being played that may somehow affect an individuals perception and the way one acts toward certain circumstances when playing a game.
One example is that, in RPG games, they give you a timer that tells you how long you’ve been playing, and if a person is has an obsession with time, like accurately measuring how long its going to be played, the symptoms of OCD is being heightened.
A role-playing game (RPG) is a broad family of games in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development. Actions taken within the game succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.
OCD impulses, like most people, are all about controlling the environment-and the virtual landscapes in games are a perfect outlet for this. Video games could be another one of rituals. It would definitely fit for people with OCD who like to count or organize things repetitively.