Do you know someone who plays video games too much? Could they possibly have a mental health condition called "gaming disorder"?
The Doctors discuss The World Health Organization adding "gaming disorder" as a mental health condition to their International Classification of Diseases.
The organization says of the disorder, "the behavior pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months."
Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho explains this refers to cases where the video game playing is taken to the extreme and says according to research in some cases the brain circuitry is affected by game playing in a similar way to how gambling and substance abuse affects the brain. She also notes that for some, they use video games as a means to escape reality, avoid problems and modulate their emotions.
The Doctors stress that the organization's disorder refers to behavior that takes places over the course of a year, and would not usually apply to someone spending a great deal of time playing a new game right after it comes out. They also note that the American Psychiatric Association only considers this an area that needs further study and not a mental health issue. The Doctors feel that moderation and parental guidance is key when it comes to video games.