Video gaming addiction is now a mental disorder, says WHO

Gaming disorder’ is now an official mental-health condition

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The designation of Gaming Disorder would fall under mental health and take on some of the same treatment and coping skills for those who seek help for drugs, alcohol and gambling addiction. The WHO was discussing adding gaming addition back in December 2017, when it introduced it in a draft version of ICD-11.

Director of WHO's Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Shekhar Saxena, describes some of the warning signs of addictive Gaming behavior.

Up until now, it had been classified as a mental health disorder.

According to World Health Organization, players with an addiction feel like they are not in control of their gaming habits, give priority to gaming over other interests and daily activities, and continue to play despite the negative consequences.

It may be continuous or episodic and recurrent, but the aspects of the disorder are usually evident for at least 12 months in order to necessitate a diagnosis. Gaming disorder is now a mental health condition.

The concept of video game addiction is nearly as old as gaming itself, but it's only this month that there's been any attempt to formally acknowledge it as a specific mental health problem.

In other words, if excessive gaming is having a continual and sustained negative effect on the rest of your life, then you're suffering from gaming disorder.

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At Video Games Etc! in Cedar Rapids, workers have heard rumblings the World Health Organization would add video games to its list of addictions.

This latest version - known as ICD-11 - is completely electronic for the first time, to try to make it more accessible to doctors and other health workers around the world.

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. That includes spending more time playing video games and less time with friends and family or at work and school. The statement is highly critical, citing contested and inconclusive data and concerns of misdiagnosis.

The inclusion of "gaming disorder" in WHO's revised catalogue of diseases met with resistance, both from industry and some experts.

The ICD is also used by health insurers, whose reimbursements depend on its classifications.

"In order to reduce the stigma while also ensuring access to necessary health interventions, it was placed into the sexual health chapter."

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