World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as mental health condition

Updated: Jun. 20, 2018 at 10:43 PM CDT
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METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Playing video games is now considered a disorder according to the World Health Organization.

The report says the disorder is classified by "impaired control over gaming," and prioritizing gaming over other activities.

"I think it's a little over the top. I think that it's targeting a certain group of people who spend maybe more than eight hours a day playing video games and they're trying to find a way to label that for some reason," gamer Jeremy Trahan said.

Trahan says he's been playing video games since he was ten, and argues that gaming is just one of the vices people use to relieve stress.

"They're claiming it's a mental disorder because people use it as an escapism. And it's true, some people do use it to escape, but it's a healthy way to escape in a way. It's better than drugs, it's better than going to the bar and drinking," Trahan said.

One of the warning signs in the report is if people spend too time gaming, they exclude other activities.

"I think a lot of things adults complain about is kids sitting on their computer, the Xbox or whatever too long, and they're just wasting their time, but at the same time people are also claiming it's too dangerous to go outside, so what do you want the kids to do?" Trahan said.

Dr. Martin Drell says the diagnosis depends on whether playing video games causes significant disorder in functions.

"The key issue is it has to be a problem in cognitions, thinking and doing that really gets in the way of your life," Drell said.

Drell says much like gambling or addiction disorders, there's a spectrum for those who game.

"I do think that there are some kids and adults in which the gaming has just taken over their lives to the detriment of their families, to the detriments of their jobs, to the detriments of their friends, and that in some ways it's a serious mental health disorder," Drell said.

Meanwhile, Trahan says growing up playing video games is just like any other activity.

"It's really up to the parent and how they raise their kid. I mean, some kids grow up being football kids, some grow up reading books, some grow up playing video games. I mean, they all do different things for a child when they're growing up and they all have their pros and cons to it as well," Trahan said.

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