We've all had those binges where "5 more minutes" meant watching the sun come up with the controller (or mouse) still in hand. Video Games can provide a fantastic outlet for players, and their immersive nature can provide an amazing escape from the day-to-day stresses. For others, it's a simple hobby to casually enjoy when time comes available. There are some, however, that need the distraction to the point where it could be seen as a hinderance to every day life.
The talk of mental health is serious, and deserves careful discussion about issues that really do affect people's daily lives. Because of this, the World Health Organisation is adding gaming addition to their list of verified mental disorders.
The eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases manual is set to release in 2018, and gaming will officially be a part of it as something that should be monitored in extreme cases. It's important to note that this doesn't include casual gaming, or those occasional marathons that will always be a fun event. We've all heard those outlandish tales of spouses leaving their significant other over thousands of dollars spent on in-game items, or those stories where gamers have lost their jobs because they couldn't put the controller down. That's where this comes into play, and not a means of attack.
Vladimir Poznyak, a member of the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, spoke about the importance of recognising gaming disorder as an important issue.
“Health professionals need to recognise that gaming disorder may have serious health consequences,” he said. “Most people who play video games don’t have a disorder, just like most people who drink alcohol don’t have a disorder either. However, in certain circumstances overuse can lead to adverse effects.”
According to a recent study, of the 19,000 men and women surveyed in the UK, US, and Canada - only 2-3% showed signs of gaming addition. Of the 9 symptoms officially listed as an identifier, some include antisocial behaviour, withdrawal, anxiety, lack of control, and more.
Dr Andrew Przybylski, from the University of Oxford study, opened up a little bit more about what he found in his studies: “To our knowledge, these are the first findings from a large-scale project to produce robust evidence on the potential new problem of ‘internet gaming disorder,’” he said.
“Contrary to what was predicted, the study did not find a clear link between potential addiction and negative effects on health; however, more research grounded in open and robust scientific practices is needed to learn if games are truly as addictive as many fear.”
To learn more, you can check out the original report right here.