Remember the original Atari 2600 and the first Nintendo system or even PONG? Games have advanced far beyond that now and it's easy to see where addiction can take hold. But, where do you draw the line between fun and too much?

Well, according to the World Health Organization the symptoms transcend feeling guilty about not doing anything productive all day:

The behavior pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning

In other words if this is all that you think about and can't function properly without a controller in your hand, then you might suffer from this. Also, you need to be exhibiting symptoms for at least a year before they'll recognize it as a bonafide disorder. With the amount of realism possible and because games are far more complex than just 'beating the boss' it's easy to get sucked in to an alternate reality especially if your own reality is less than stellar.

But, before you start tossing out the game consoles though, don't forget that addiction takes on many forms and the games or whatever the vehicle are just an escape from a much deeper and harder to beat internal issue. Playing for hours on end could just be a phase and most grow out of it, but it might not be a bad idea to ration time and balance with other pursuits just to be safe.

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