Video game addiction is now officially classified as a mental disorder
Growing up with video games, I know there were definitely times that I played for too long. After a long time trying over and over again to reach a high score or get through a boss battle, you can stop enjoying yourself and forget why you got the game in the first place. However, there are people out there that have done a lot worse than waste a Sunday afternoon repeating the same level over and over again.
For those that have a particularly strong need to turn on their consoles and boot up a particular game, there is now a condition that describes their addiction. The World Health Organization has listed 'gaming disorder' in its International Classification of Diseases for the first time, meaning that this kind of behaviour is now being considered far more seriously.
There are plenty of people out there who play video games frequently who don't meet these definitions, however. According to the WHO's guidelines, to be diagnosed you must "experience significant impairment in personal, family, social educational, occupational or other important areas of function" - and lived in this situation for at least one year.
One mother explained that her daughter's gaming addiction had gotten so bad she had to put her in rehab, meaning she would have met the conditions to be diagnosed as having 'gaming disorder'.
Speaking to the Mirror, she explained how her nine-year-old daughter was so engrossed in the game Fortnite that she had wet herself while playing and fallen asleep in class:
"Our daughter told us it could be some extras she'd paid for on Fortnite. Of course we were furious and confiscated her Xbox. But then she lashed out and hit my husband in the face.
"My husband saw her light on in the night and found her sitting on a urine-soaked cushion playing the game.
"I found her backside was red-raw. She was so hooked to the game she wouldn't even go to the toilet."
Apparently, she had been waiting until they went to sleep before getting out of bed to play the game all night - sometimes for up to 10 hours a day. "We had no idea, when we let her play the game, of the addictive nature or the impact it could have on her mental health," her mother said.
"She is in therapy for the addiction after she became withdrawn, agitated and disturbed from playing up to ten hours a day - sometimes playing until dawn, wetting herself so she didn't have to leave the screen.
"This is a serious issue which is destroying our little girl's life and someone needs to step in to ban it before it becomes an epidemic.
"We got called in by her head teacher asking if everything was OK. She had fallen asleep twice in lessons and her grades were slipping.
"When we asked our daughter what the problem was, she became unusually argumentative and aggressive, which we just put down to her hormones."
Thankfully she is now undergoing the relevant therapy to help her get back to a more stable home and school life.