Obsessive video gaming could be considered a mental health disorder in 2018. The World Health Organization plans to add 'Gaming Disorder' to its list of diagnosable diseases next year.
According to the WHO, the popular past time becomes a problem when obsessive gaming takes priority over other interests and daily activities. Another symptom is when gamers continue to ramp up screen time despite negative consequences like interrupting family life or a career.
"I know a lot of people who play constantly," said long-time gamer, David Vanpelt. Vanpelt works at Epic Seconds, a video game store in Downtown Eugene.
Vanderpelt agrees that, for some gamers, it can be hard to unplug.
"If you haven't showered for two days because you've been playing your game and you can't stop because something might happen, I think that's where the problem lies."
More than half of all U.S. households own a gaming device, according to the Entertainment Software Association.
Vanderpelt said he wouldn't go as far as calling gaming an "addiction." He said the hobby is only a health risk for a small group of people. However, he said the problem has the potential to grow now that games are becoming smaller, more portable, and harder to resist.
"A game would come out and two years later a sequel would come out. Now you have stuff filling that gap," Vanderpelt said. "They're very good at pulling you back into that world. I think for a lot of people it gives them a sense of accomplishment."
The World Health Organization's findings are not final. They will release the final draft of the new disease classification guide this summer.