KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared that gaming addiction is classifiable as a "gaming disorder."
A person can now be medically diagnosed after showing 12 months of symptoms. Symptoms include prioritizing gaming over work, school and social life.
"I hear tons of stories out of places where people die in front of their computers because they don't get up and don't eat or drink," Luke Wood with Allevia Technology said.
Gaming addiction can be serious.
'There's a lot of different ways to get hooked into that ecosystem," Wood said.
Just ask Luke Wood, he used to spend hours on end with a controller in hand.
"You start having time loss. I've had play sessions before where I look at the clock and it's 6:00 am and I thought it was 11:00 pm," Wood said.
They define it as "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior" so severe it "takes precedence over other life interests".
Doctors said there are hundreds of reasons people and kids in particular get lost in video games. They may be depressed, anxious or socially anxious. What games today provide these children is a social outlet where they don't have to leave their house or run the risk of being bullied.
For Luke Wood, it was a way to get lost in a story, but today he knows he can't waste the kind of time he used to.
"It came with getting older and having more wisdom and being able to look at the situation and knowing it was not healthy. It's not intended to be that way," Wood said.
He said it's hard to realize you have a problem, but taking a step back and looking at the relationships you're hurting could put you on the right path.
"Finding someone to hold you accountable is always good with any addiction. someone to watch over you, someone to keep you from slipping back," Wood said.
Many top global gaming organizations don't agree with the new ruling. They have asked the World Health Organization to reconsider the decision, saying there isn't enough evidence.