Gaming addiction will soon receive an official medical diagnosis.
The World Health Organization is set to recognize addiction to video games as a mental health disorder in 2018. Similar to any other form of entertainment, be it film or pornography, video games are meant to illicit a visceral response in the gamer, and give them a reason to keep returning back for more.
While the era of arcade games back in the 1980s made an addiction to these virtually fabricated universes impossible (as one could only have enough quarters at their disposal before giving up), the domestic console device of today has a whole new generation of children and adults alike glued to their controllers. Aided in part by the addition of multi-player options, gamers have now become connected to like-minded individuals around the world, and have effectively established communities and relationships over a wired headset while maneuvering their preferred game.
However, this addiction to gaming is not exclusively linked to consoles, as the readily accessible mobile device app has an equal ability to hook any prospective player. Candy Crush and Pokemon Go are just two of the recent phenomena in mobile gaming that has players hooked for hours on end.
While many can step away from their console or exit their mobile app after any dignified playing time, some become consumed by their need to conquer a particular game, and can begin to exhibit symptoms similar to a gambling addiction.
In a document obtained by CNN, the World Health Organization provides specific details of this newly-recognized strain of addictive behaviour:
"The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent."
While this document may be currently in draft form, it reveals an increasing attention to this persistent phenomenon.