Excessive Gaming a "Disorder?" Texas Psychologist Isn't Buying It

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A Texas psychologist who has researched video games and their effect on the brain isn't buying a claim by tghe World Health Organization that excessive video game use should be considered a 'gaming disorder,' a recognized emotional condition similar to a drug addiction, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Anthony Bean tells News Radio 1200 WOAI that using the 'gaming disorder' label is something that could wind up having other popular pastimes declared 'disorders' as well.

"You could very well use the same criteria to say a person has a 'running addiction' or a 'reading addiction,' he said.  "That is very concerning."

Why is it a disorder for somebody with an otherwise healthy life to come home from work and play a video game for several hours, but it is not a disorder for the same person to relax by reading a book for several hours, look at an iPad, or even binge watch televison?

Bean says labeling video game use as a 'disorder' is also a cop out, because it covers up good reasons why many people play video games.

"That doesn't mean they have a 'video game addiction,' that means they are suffering from some other mental health issue," he said.  "The video games are secondary to the actual primary reason."

He also says many people use video games as therapy, not because they suffer from a 'disorder.' For example, he's afraid this WHO label will discourage psychologists from recommending video games as a legitimate and effective treatment for PTSD.

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