Is it possible to become addicted to video games? That question usually generates passionate opinions – from those who think too much time spent in front of an immersive game can be damaging, to those who see Fortnite, League of Legends or The Legend of Zelda as harmless pastimes. But now, scientists and health professionals are focusing more on what happens when people – often young men – choose video games over work, school, and relationships.
Tech expert Omar Gallaga says for the gaming industry, it’s a compliment when someone calls a game “addictive.” But he says addiction to video games is a real affliction for some people, so much so that the World Health Organization made it an official disorder this year.
“‘Gaming disorder’ is how they describe it, and then the American Psychiatric Association created IGD – Internet Gaming Disorder,” Gallaga says. “But there’s debate in the industry and in research about whether it even actually exists.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– Why there’s debate about whether gaming addiction is real
– How video games are designed to keep players engaged for long periods of time
– How video games affect the brain
– Where to find help or treatment for gaming addiction
If you need help, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 24/7 national helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889.
Written by Caroline Covington.