Is playing video games as addictive as cocaine and alcohol? The World Health Organization (WHO) will be adding video game addiction to its International Classification of Diseases manual in 2018. There has been a debate for years about the link between video games and mental illness. What will this new diagnosis mean for the multi-bilion dollar industry whose survival is dependent on the very demographic this new diagnosis will affect?

The video game industry has faced criticism over the violent and graphic nature of their products. They have always vigorously defended their products and maintained that it is the responsibility of parents to monitor their children's viewing habits.

Correlating a direct link between violence and video games has been difficult. Most people who indulge in playing are not addicts. The criteria for making a diagnosis is critical. The basis for a disorder judgement will be decided based on how it affects the individual's daily life.

Gaming disorders

Is the individual eating properly and sleeping? Are they taking care of their hygiene? The individual's behavior must be monitored for a year before a claim of the disorder can be made. The WHO has spent years studying internet addiction. They are confident that their findings warrant the fact that gaming disorder should be classified as a mental health disease.

Is a love of video games harmless?

The concern lies in how much it is consuming the individual's life.

If they are in school, does gaming affect their ability to complete homework? The biological effects of gaming have been in question for decades. Serious addicts have been known to isolate themselves from the outside world and completely drop out of their social circles. If someone is suspected of being a gaming addict, their behavior needs to be watched and documented.

Questions about the severity of the addiction have always been controversial. Can it be considered in the same vein as other forms of addiction? There have been studies done to support this theory. The studies provided conclusive evidence that video game use had the same effect on the brain as drug use. There are concerns that a video gaming disorder diagnosis will do more harm than good. Critics of the new diagnosis feel that it is being brought on by moral and political pressure. Critics also feel that the study groups used in testing were faulty.

What do you think?