Gaming addiction, now a mental health disorder, a reminder to limit screen time

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Video games can literally be played anywhere now that they are available on smart phones. 
There are games for everyone. And almost everyone is gaming. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified gaming addiction as a mental health disorder, addressing growing concerns about too much screen time.

“Games are the new kind of form of TV. It’s something that entertains your kids. There’s lots of studies about how it stimulates and helps you problem-solve, they give you lots of experience,” Faisal Ahmed, Founder of Comic Con Honolulu, said.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 65 percent of American adults play video games and 70 percent of families have a child who plays video games.

But when does a fun pastime turn into an addiction?

“If it interferes with you doing the rest of your life,” Steven Katz explained.

Katz is the vice president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). 

“If you are lying, just like with alcohol or with drugs, if you find yourself covering up your problem, that’s a really strong sign that you’ve got a problem…It’s serious because it really can mess up your life,” Katz said.

The WHO designating gaming addiction as a mental health disorder will help more people take it seriously.

“It’s an illness and it should be treated as such not punished, but treated as a problem,” Katz said.

The good news is not everyone who plays video games will become addicted.

The key is moderation. Limiting screen time is the best way to prevent gaming from becoming a problem.

According to Katz, most therapists can help if you have a problem or know someone who does. And if your child has the disorder, school counselors can be a valuable resource. 

For more information or assistance you call also contact the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

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