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Gaming disorder — in which addiction to video games becomes so extensive as to significantly impair a person’s daily activities — is now designated by the World Health Organization as a mental health condition that requires treatment just like addiction to alcohol or gambling. Recent research commissioned by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry showing that more than 30 percent of people in their teens to 20s in Japan play video games, online or otherwise, for at least two hours per weekday — with nearly 3 percent spending six or more hours doing so — should prompt a closer look into gaming addiction among young people and increased efforts to prevent them from developing gaming disorder.

In the first nationwide survey of its kind, the National Hospital Organization Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center found that the longer youths play games every day, the more serious physical and mental consequences they tend to suffer, which can disrupt their school activities, jobs, family ties and social relations.

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