Addicted to games?

Video game addiction is now recognised as a mental health disorder.

A love of Fortnite, Mario, Sonic or Call of Duty might be sign of an addiction.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has added ‘Gaming Disorders’ to its list of modern diseases in the latest update to the International Classification of Disease (ICD).

Gaming disorders was added to the ‘Disorders Due to Addictive Behaviours’ section of the ICD and was characterised as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour that results in negative consequences.

Gaming disorders are characterised by an impaired control over gaming, an increased priority given to gaming over other life interests and daily activities and an escalation of gaming despite an impairment in personal, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

To be diagnosed with a gaming disorder, the addictive behaviour has to be evident for a period of at least 12 months, but that may be shortened if the symptoms are severe.

Research conducted by the WHO indicated that gaming disorders only affected a small portion of the world’s population, however those who gamed often should note of the amount of time spent gaming and any changes to their physical or psychological health.

Despite the addition to the list of modern diseases, the world of professional gaming remains a $1.2 billion global industry with an estimated 239 million people watching televised gaming tournaments online and in stadiums.

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) recently introduced its first professional gaming team, the QUT Tigers, and awarded five students $10,000 gaming scholarships.

QUT eSports coordinator Dylan Poulus said the students trained for more than 20 hours per week playing League of Legends and supplemented that with a physical and psychological training regime.

“The best thing about the program is that we can manage these eSport athletes in the same way QUT supports its Olympic-level athletes,” he said.

“They have full access to sports psychologists, dieticians, strength and conditioning coaches and a team manager."

Mr Poulus said he hoped the scholarships would eliminate some of the stigma around gaming.

“A big part of my role is taking parents on a journey and showing them that this is a billion-dollar industry and we’re taking their children on a grass roots path,” he said.

 “It’s the same way junior sports would encourage children into professional sporting arenas.”