Excessive video gaming is now a mental disorder.
Beginning in 2018, doctors can diagnose and treat those with the disorder.
The World Health Organization made the announcement this week.
Gundersen Therapist Jeff Reiland said those addicted to gaming are no different from people suffering from alcoholism.
“They start spending more time on it, than doing other things,” Reiland said. “They start lying to their friends and family about how much time they’re spending on it.
“Actually, they start finding relief or pleasure from the game. They obsess about it. It gets in the way of, basically, everything else in life.”
Reiland says parents putting their foot down can make a big difference.
“Making video gaming something that kids do in small amounts — a couple of hours,” he said. “And, that would include all other screen time as well bc any time a child is involved with their screen, they’re not interacting in real time with other people.”
The issue of excessive gaming has been studied for over 20 years. Reiland believes it’s an exciting breakthrough.
“We already do see a lot of kids who have too much time gaming and trying to give them other alternatives to give them better strategies to coping with stress, rather than just escaping through their video game system.”