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World Health Organization to consider "gaming addiction" a mental health condition

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People who spend countless hours playing video games could soon be diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will add "gaming disorder" to its International Classification of Diseases next year. That means doctors can now diagnose someone with the condition.
According to the WHO, the problem comes when gaming takes priority over other life interests and activities.

The behavior must persist for at least one year to be diagnosed, but that time can be shortened in severe cases.

A therapist in Michigan says people who suffer from this have a unique set of symptoms. 

"These are individuals who are preoccupied with gaming or through out the day when they are engaged with daily activities," Dr. Travis Johnson said. "It's also individuals who experience withdraw who think about gaming."

Channel 3 spoke to an employee at Epikos Comics, Cards, & Games in Hixson about the issue. He says he doesn't believe this new disorder will have a big impact on the gaming industry. 

"Maybe it is something to recognize, but at first blush it seems a little over blown for such a large world organization to be pointing out something that honestly every nerd in here knows somebody," Will Park, Assistant Manager of Epikos Comics, Cards, & Games, said. "It's atypical, but everybody knows the corner case."

Channel 3 also asked viewers on Facebook to weigh in on the WHO's decision.

"You can be addicted to anything," one viewer said. "Some addictions have worse side affects than others."

Another said, "now people will be trying to draw disability and sit and play games!"

The American Psychiatric Association has not recognized gaming addiction as a mental illness as of yet. 

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