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Playing too many video games can lead to a mental health disorder.

The World Health Organization will now recognize ‘gaming disorder’ as a mental condition starting in 2018.  Doctors and insurance companies are going to recognize it as an illness as well.

WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse member Vladimir Poznyak says,

“Health professionals need to recognize that gaming disorder may have serious health consequences. 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.”

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The WHO defines the disorder as a “persistent or recurrent” behavior pattern of “sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

Last year University of Oxford Researchers surveyed 19,000 men and women from the U.K. US, Germany, and Canada.  The study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows  2 to 3 percent experienced five or more of the symptoms from the American Psychiatric Association checklist of health symptoms.

The Lead Author from the university Dr Andrew Przybylski said,

“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,”

“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.”

A small percentage of people spend 12-24 hours a day playing video games.  Are they just having fun or do they suffer from ‘gaming disorder?’ Leave your comments below.

Parish Hodges
Hi I'm Parish! I'm an entertainment news journalist and avid TV watcher residing in Nashville, TN. I've dabbled in all things media including, radio, production, and TV. Follow me on Twitter to keep up with all things pop culture.