Last year, the World Health Organization updated the International Classification of Diseases to recognize excessive gaming as a mental health disorder. Since then, gaming disorder and game addiction have experienced increased attention from both the media and experts, with some game addicts even speaking to members of the UK parliament's Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport committee about the issue.
James Good is one of the video game addicts who spoke to UK parliament today. As reported by the BBC, Good currently works for the Game Quitters organization, which aims to provide support to gaming addicts, but he used to struggle with game addiction himself. According to Good, his gaming addiction was so bad that he would sometimes play games for up to 32 hours without eating, sleeping, or even leaving his room.
Good's excessive gaming led to depression, a risk of gaming addiction that has been noted in the past. He then abandoned his academic career in physics, dropping out of university to play video games.
Another game addict that spoke during the hearing, Matus Mikus, cited shorter gaming sessions than Good, but his gaming addiction was still problematic. Mikus said that his gaming sessions typically lasted between four and 12 hours, which was long enough to cause his girlfriend to break up with him.
It's clear that gaming addiction is a serious issue, but it's worth pointing out that the vast majority of gamers do not suffer from it. Gaming addiction is classified similarly as alcohol and drug abuse, meaning that one has to continue gaming despite severe negative effects on their personal and professional lives to be considered an addict.
For those who genuinely suffer from gaming addiction, hopefully the increased focus on the problem will result in better ways to treat it. One common treatment method seems to be sending game addicts to rehab clinics, though how effective that is remains to be seen. Perhaps new treatment methods that are more specific to gaming addiction will be developed in the future so that game addicts can get the help they need.