World Health Organization to classify gaming addiction as mental disorder

Some of you may have had video games under your Christmas tree, but be careful.

The World Health Organization says excessive use can lead to health problems. So much so WHO will recognize gaming addiction as a mental disorder.

Julian Medrano manages Resurrected Movies, Video Games and More in Central Austin. "Gaming, in general for me, it's something you have fun, you know, play all sorts of games like Pokémon. I love Pokémon,” he said.

The UT student makes a social event out of his hobby choosing games that allow for his friends to join in. "It can be fun on its own if it's balanced with other things,” said Kim Kjome, MD, Seton Mind Institute

Psychiatrist Kim Kjome of the Seton Mind Institute says balance is most important when it comes to the amount of time we spend on the internet, computers, smartphones and other electronic devices.

The World Health Organization has found that excessive use can lead to a mental disorder.

In fact, WHO will include "gaming disorder" in its international classification of diseases for 2018. ICD as it’s called, is the basis for identification of health trends and is used by medical practitioners around the world to diagnose and categorize conditions.

In a number of countries, the problem has become a significant public health concern.

"Like in Asia, China and Japan and Korea there are programs set up for folks that have gaming addiction so that they can take the kid out of the home, bring them into a center, try to get them more balance in their life,” said Kjome.

Kjome says gaming becomes a problem when its interfering with your life.

"If someone isn't taking care of their body, if someone isn't eating well, if someone is having mood swings and getting anxious or they feel like they're dependent, if they're not using the game or around the game they feel an emptiness,” said Kjome.

"It's just like anything you do. It's like some people like riding bikes forever,” said Medrano.

Medrano understands how addiction to gaming can happen.

"You can get immersed in whatever you do if you really love it,” he said.

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