Gaming addiction declared a mental disorder

Gaming addiction declared a mental disorder

The WHO has listed "gaming disorder" in its International Classification of Diseases for the very first time.

However, Vladimir Poznyak of the WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse told New Scientist a year ago, when the agency first revealed its decision to include gaming disorder in its diagnostic manual, that the move was supported by sufficient evidence.

"This does not mean everyone who engages in gaming has a disorder", emphasized Shekhar Saxena, MD, the WHO's director of the Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, who noted that the definition involves impaired control over gaming and increased priority given to it over usual activities. The inclusion of a disorder in ICD is take into account by countries when planning public health strategies and monitoring trends of disorders. And in South Korea, at least two children have starved to death, likely because their caretaking parents were busy playing video games.

The wording of the new entries has been known since January, when World Health Organization announced "problem gaming" would be recognised as a pathological condition.

Games like Fortnite are more popular than ever, but they may also have renewed fears that games are damaging young minds. There's a difference between just enjoying playing video games and being addicted, mind; in fact, there are three primary criteria by which it's judged.

Others welcomed WHO's new categorisation, saying it was critical to identify people hooked on video games quickly, because they were usually teenagers or young adults who did not seek help.

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Dr. Mark Griffiths, who has been researching the concept of video gaming disorder for 30 years, said the new classification would help legitimize the problem and strengthen treatment strategies. Of course, gaming industry spokespeople aren't happy about this draft, which if passed, would come into effect in May 2019.

The WHO's latest reference bible of recognised and diagnosable diseases describes addiction to digital and video gaming as "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour".

The World Health Organization's worldwide list of diseases is getting an update.

"Much confusion remains - even among authors supporting the diagnosis - regarding what, exactly, gaming disorder is".

The ICD is used internationally to diagnose and codify incidents of diseases and disorders, including - though not limited to - mental health conditions.

According to WHO, health concerns associated with gaming behavior include insufficient physical activity, unhealthy diet, problems with eyesight or hearing, musculoskeletal problems, sleep deprivation, aggressive behavior, depression and psychosocial functioning.

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