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GENEVA — The World Health Organization now says video game addiction should be classified as a medical condition.  “Gaming Disorder” will now appear in a new draft of the WHO’s classification of diseases.

“One can be addicted to really anything,” said Audrey Nottke, the director of nursing over behavioral health services at Medical Center of Aurora.

She believes this is a step in the right direction.  “Right now we are seeing people spend up to 16 hours a day just playing on these video games, so this allows them to reach out for help,” Nottke said.

Some say video games are therapeutic, even educational.  So how do you know if you or your kids have a problem?  “The biggest sign and symptom is isolation, withdrawing to that computer room and not leaving it,” Nottke said.

Here are things you can watch out for:

  • Increased amount of time playing the games
  • Failed attempts to control behavior
  • Increased sense of euphoria when playing
  • Craving more time on the computer
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Feeling restless when not playing
  • Being dishonest
  • Play interfering with job and school
  • Feeling ashamed about playing time
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Physical changes like weight

If you can check five or more of these, that could indicate a problem.

“We know that depression, anxiety, (suicide are) correlated with how many hours  one spends on the screen.  That`s where our resources come into play.” Nottke said.

She says help is available, although insurance coverage could be complicated.  “There is a struggle right now to get reimbursement for it.  However, there is not a struggle when it is tied to depression and anxiety.”

If you need help, here are some resources:

Locally: call 844-556-2012 for an assessment for depression or anxiety