Too much video game time now considered mental disorder

Two young men playing video game in dorm room side view

Gaming disorder to be named a mental health condition for the first time

Instances of addiction to playing video games are on the rise to such a degree that the World Health Organization is adding "gaming disorder" to its global classification of diseases in 2018.

The WHO's classification means that gaming disorder will be recognized by doctors and insurance providers.

WHO experts believe gaming can be a serious mental health issue which should be closely monitored.

Symptoms include not being able to control when and how you play video games, or choosing games over other interests in life, even when there's negative consequences.

An example of such a state of personal affairs be if someone's involvement with video games was such that they were fired due to skipping work because of their gaming habits, and then still continued to play. "We've also seen gaming addiction leading to sleep disturbances, poor eating, irritability and loss of productivity", he said. The move is a response to a long debate over whether video gaming can be addictive.

Standard treatment for technology-associated addictive behaviour, he said, involves quantifying gaming patterns, assessing dysfunctions and motivating patients to initially change lifestyles to reduce gaming durations.

Originally founded in 1948, the World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, aims to "build a better, healthier future" with their involvement in worldwide public health across the globe. First, the current approaches to understanding "gaming addiction" are rooted in substance abuse research and approaches do not necessarily translate to media consumption. Third, pathologizing gaming behavior has fallout beyond the therapeutic setting. Brian Vigneault died at age 35 while participating in an online video game marathon that was raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Second, some research has indicated that "video game addiction" is not a stable construct and clinical impairment might be low.

That's concerning news for the thousands of people who got a game under the tree for Christmas. At that time, people spent 6.3 hours per week playing video games.

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