Lufkin expert explains defining video game addiction will help gain understanding

(Source: WWSB)
(Source: WWSB)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Playing video games too much and too often is grabbing the attention of medical experts. This week the World Health Organization added playing too much video games as a mental health disorder.

For years, people have been playing video games, some not realizing their addiction, and some being up front.

"You don't even want to go anywhere. You just sit there and concentrate on the game but that's how you mess up your life, if you just do that," said Talon McCarver, a fifth grader.

The belief that gaming could be bad for your health is being echoed by the World Heath Organization. Their most recent draft of the international classification of diseases now includes "gaming disorder."

Debra Burton, a licensed professional counselor, said the organization is working towards defining the disorder clearly saying it will pave the way to find treatment.

"It will help identification and treatment and it will also help research so that we can gain a better understanding of how this develops and what we can do to prevent it," Burton said. 

Gaming disorder will be added to the official list of diseases by next year. Its symptoms include the inability to control when and how to play video games. Another red flag is when someone chooses games over other interests in life, and keeps playing despite negative consequences.

"That's why it's so important that we recognize that this is an because again these games are designed to hook you in," Burton said. "And once you're hooked in, it's very hard to unhook."

Meanwhile, this parent says use video games wisely.

"It's up to the parent to stop that. Anything out of moderation can be addicting," said Don Williamson, a parent.

The organization said the comprehensive list is intended to make it easier for scientists to share and compare health information among industry professionals. The decision does not mean that playing games in itself is a problem. Experts said that will be determined on a case by cases basis. Additionally, adding Gaming Disorder to the list means that it will be recognized by doctors and insurance companies.

Copyright 2017 KTRE. All rights reserved.