World Health Organization declares video game addiction a ‘mental disorder’

WHO Classifies Gaming Disorder in its Diseases Manual in the Latest Updates

Video Game Addiction Officially Classified As A Mental Disorder: Here’s Why This Is Important

The World Health Organization defined gaming disorder in the new draft of the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases or ICD-11 as a pattern of gaming behavior that involves the excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games that interferes with a person's daily life and normal activities.

Many parents already have concerns, but some may now have a new argument for limiting their children's "screen time" - addiction to video games has been recognised by World Health Organisation as a mental health disorder.

"A key principle in this revision was to simplify the coding structure and electronic tooling - this will allow health care professionals to more easily and completely record conditions", said Dr. Robert Jakob, leader of the WHO's Classifications Terminologies and Standards team.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is now saying that the obsession can become such an addiction it warrants being classified as an official disorder by the group.

The term is "gaming disorder" and signs include placing gaming as a priority over other things, deteriorating personal relationships with family and friends and sometimes even sleep disorders.

Finally, after years of speculation and concern, we may start to get some scientific answers now that the World Health Organization has chose to classify gaming disorder as an addiction, comparable to compulsive gambling or substance abuse.

The most recent update took 14 years of research and feedback before it was published, meaning a new edition that includes gaming could still be years away. Gaming disorder is listed under the section of "Disorders due to addictive behaviors", and sits alongside Gambling Disorder.

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It's no wonder that such a decision has received significant flaks not only from video gaming companies and gamers but also from mental health professionals.

"Everyone who indulges from gaming from time-to-time doesn't have this disorder; it's only a minority of people who game who will satisfy the strict criteria for gaming disorder in ICD-11". He tells CNN that many actually use gaming as a coping mechanism for other conditions such as depression or anxiety. "Now, however, if a doctor in another country can not read a person's medical records, they will know what the ICD code means", World Health Organization explained.

Simply playing a lot of video games does not automatically mean that someone has a problem.

In South Korea and the U.S., clinics have sprung up to treat video game addiction, along with community and online support groups.

The handing down of the ICD comes after television show A Current Affair ran a segment warning parents of the dangers of the "addictive" game Fortnite.

Gaming disorders usually are linked to a system of rewards or incentives, such as accumulating points in competition with others or winning money.

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