Man at His Best

Gaming Addiction Is Now A Legitimate Mental Health Condition

Is it time to put down your controller?

BY Editors | Jan 31, 2018 | Fitness & Health

The World Health Organisation has confirmed that it is classifying gaming addiction as an official condition.

The 2018 edition of the International Compendium of Diseases will list "gaming disorder" as a significant problem, following a huge rise in the popularity of video games since the last ICD was published in 1992.

A draft version refers to gaming behaviour that takes "precedence over other life interests", suggesting such behaviour should usually continue for at least 12 months before a diagnosis of gaming disorder is made.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Richard Graham, lead technology addiction specialist at the Nightingale Hospital in London, welcomed the findings.

"It is significant because it creates the opportunity for more specialised services," Dr Graham, who sees around 50 new cases of gaming addiction each year, said. "It puts it on the map as something to take seriously."

In contrast to commonly-voiced fears that children are becoming increasingly addicted to gaming, a recent study by the University of Oxford suggested that although modern kids spend a lot more time glued to their screens, they don't do this "to the exclusion of other activities", instead "spread[ing] their digital tech use throughout the day, while doing other things".

In South Korea, steps have already been made to prevent gaming-related problems, with children under the age of 16 being banned from online games between midnight and 6am.

The argument over gaming addiction has raged for decades, and the WHO's update is only going to make the issue more of a talking point. However, in a year that featured superb, innovative titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the debate is unlikely to harm an industry as big as gaming.

From: Digital Spy