While addiction usually belongs to the usual suspects like alcohol, nicotine and other substances, one of the latest additions to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list may affect just as many as all three.
The newest addiction actually isn’t a substance at all, but instead video games.
WHO has officially added video game addiction to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) in a recent update. This is a more severe title than it was filed under previously, as a potentially harmful technology-related behavior.
According to WHO’s classification, video gaming’s tendency to be “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior [that] takes precedence over other life interests,” has pushed it into the addiction category.
Now known under the name “Gaming Disorder,” the classification puts the addiction on a similar level to the aforementioned substances.
These disorders are described as “associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviors other than the use of dependence-producing substances.
WHO’s expert on mental health and substance abuse, Shekhar Saxena, told NBC News these addictions can take precedent overeating and sleeping, causing some to log over 20 hours on their computers or consoles.
Saxena went on to say that if the habits are identified quick enough, a full-on addiction can be avoided.
“This is an occasional or transitory behavior,” he says.
Despite its now-official classification, some don’t agree with WHO’s dubbing of gaming as an addiction.
The coalition is now calling on WHO to reevaluate their decision, saying video games are “enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide”
They also say gaming has “educational, therapeutic, and recreational value,” and this sentiment has been proven on many fronts.
What do you think of video games addition to the World Health Organization’s addiction list? Sound off in the comments below!
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