Is video game addiction really a disease? Experts question
The World Health Organization, WHO, officially classified in 2018 the "video game addiction" with a disease. The discussion of this particular topic, however, still takes place among medical experts and researchers. The argument is that there is no consensus among health professionals about the key points to identify and diagnose the disease, since it can also be defined as depression, anxiety, among other recognized afflictions.
The WHO, in turn, defines the following characteristics for the disease, which has now become officially recognized: 1) patient prioritizes video games to the point where gambling becomes more important than other life interests; 2) the patient's inability to control how many hours or how often they play; 3) ignore the growing negative aspects of video game addiction.
You could easily take the word 'video games' and replace it with 'sex', 'food' or 'watch the World Cup'
Andrew Przybylski, a psychologist at Oxford University who has been extensively studying the effects of video games on human mind and health, told The Verge that he disagreed with the WHO classification. "You could easily take the word 'video games' and replace it with 'sex', 'food' or 'watch the World Cup', " he said.
Przybylski argues that science knows exactly the effects of nicotine, opioids and other addictive drugs on our brains, but no specific effects like these could be caused or triggered by "video game addiction." For him, allowing something as generic as this to be classified as a specific disease is a mistake and could "lead to a kind of pathologization of every aspect of life, " he explained.
It could lead to a kind of pathologization of every aspect of life.
Other experts in the field, such as Michelle Colder Carras, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins University, agree with this question, and in 2016 wrote a letter advising against including "video game addiction" on the list of officially cataloged diseases. They further claim that research and articles published on the subject so far are of poor quality. There is no indication, however, that the WHO may back down on the official classification of the disease.
Is video game addiction really a disease? Experts question via TecMundo