Yes, Gaming Disorder Is for Real

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One of the most glorious feats of technology are achieved in video games. From the old school Mario Brothers to the new age multi player RPG games and even virtual reality/augmented reality titles becoming popular these days. All these games are known to hook players for hours on end. This is not all, designers are using advanced measures to create predictive algorithms that helps in keeping the fans engaged for longer. However, now, doctors are facing the problem of video game addiction at a mass level.

The problem has become so severe that the World Health Organization is now looking into the matter. This week, the condition ‘gaming disorder’ appeared in the International Classification of Diseases. This compendium of medical conditions is recognized internationally and brings to focus the nuances of technology that we may have been aware of since years.

There is a widespread outcry out there that demands lesser consumption of technology and social media, along with other forms of online entertainment. As they are designed keeping advanced analytics and principles of behavioral economics in mind, these platforms often keep us hooked way beyond our organic attention times.

As the WHO legitimizes video game addition as a disorder, it is helping several fans find if they are neglecting other aspects of their lives. As the condition has been classified, the gamers can now define whether their consumption is crossing safe limits. Moreover, it will help people who realize that they have an addiction but haven’t sought treatment for it yet. Insurance companies are now more likely to cover for therapy to resolve this issue.

Dr. Petros Levounis, the chairman of the psychiatry department at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School said, “It’s going to untie our hands in terms of treatment, in that we’ll be able to treat patients and get reimbursed. We won’t have to go dancing around the issue, calling it depression or anxiety or some other consequence of the issue but not the issue itself.”

Entertainment Software Association suggests that 2.6 billion people play video games globally. More than 2/3rd of American households consume some or the other games. The industry is garnering billions of dollars in revenue. In the next three years, its revenues could increase by 31 percent to reach $180.1 billion. A game called Fortnite, set in a post-apocalyptical world recently reported to earn $300 million in just one month.

The video game industry, however, finds this classification draconian. They call this decision deeply flawed and pointed out that games are not just addictive entertainment but have some educational, recreational, and therapeutic value as well. Mental health professionals argue that players have lost control while playing these games. It is not just the RPG games that are gaining a bad repute. Popular mobile game like Candy Crush Saga are taking the addiction to the next level. The condition is now being compared to cocaine disorder. This leads to suffering in personal relationships and work and many people often exhibit physical symptoms too.

Do you think that the classification of ‘gaming disorder’ is correct? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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