Playing video games can become a disorder Playing video games can become a disorder

Video game addiction has always been a controversial issue. The negative mental and physical effects that they can have when they are played too much are often a topic of discussion.

The criteria for considering video game addiction a disorder, or “gaming disorder,” have not been established until now, and by June 2018, this addiction will be included in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a mental health condition.

The draft of this classification states that in order to consider the problem a disorder or addiction, there first must be a lack of control in the frequency, intensity and duration of how the game is played, and with the ability to stop playing. The context in which the video game is played is also a factor.

This behavior is also considered to be a disorder or addiction if the individual “…begins to make the game a greater priority…until he or she reaches the point where the video game becomes more important than other daily interests and activities.”

Another characteristic of this addiction is a spike in the amount of time these games are played “despite their negative impacts” including dysfunction in the person’s social, family or academic life that lasts for longer than 12 months.

While the WHO report does not mention any specific actions that can be taken to prevent this disorder, not being able to manage one’s time is one of the determining factors. This is difficult to control in adults, which is why family support can be key, as those who are around the individual are often the ones that notice the warning signs.

Among younger children, experts suggest that parents limit their exposure to this activity to 1 hour a day, in addition to implementing other key factors to prevent video game addiction.

An estimated 1% to 10% of the adult population are affected by gaming disorder.