World Health Organization officially classifies gaming disorder

20 June, 2018, 03:45 | Author: Cecil Davis
  • WHO declares compulsive video gaming a mental disorder

"Disorders due to addictive behaviours are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviours other than the use of dependence-producing substances", writes the WHO.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified gaming as an addiction in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 11.

The move means that people will now be able to receive treatment for their addictions to video games and that the NHS in the United Kingdom will be able to provide treatment to children addicted to games free of charge.

Maybe more consumers will push back against video game makers who design their products to be addictive with the same sort of uproar we've seen about tobacco and opioids. Symptoms include impaired control over gaming, increasing priority of gaming over other life interests, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences. Most of the roughly 160 million American adults who play games online will not experience the addiction.

Mental health experts have long spoken out against the harmful effects of prolonged gaming, but this is the first time that it is being officially recognised as a mental health disorder by the worldwide body.

"It's easy for external commentators to dismiss or disparage an ever-expanding virtual world that they don't understand, which is why we've enabled gamers to come together and share their innermost thoughts on what gaming means to them", said Tim Wilson, CEO of Qutee, in a statement.

There's another related condition that's new to ICD-11: Hazardous gaming. Recategorizing transgender as a sexual health condition is aimed at cutting stigma and improving quality of care, says the WHO.

A spokesperson for the British Psychological Society, however, cautioned parents about what qualifies as compulsively playing video games.

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Most of the medical profession is against the Gaming Disorder inclusion; two papers opposing the proposal having already been released.

Has your child been treated for a gaming disorder?

"It's sending a very strong message that the rest of the world is no longer considering it a mental disorder", says Dr. Michael First, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and the chief technical consultant to the new edition of the codebook.

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

A new chapter also has been added on traditional medicine.

The updated ICD is scheduled to be presented to WHO member states at their annual World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption in January 2022, WHO said in a statement.

What's your stance in gaming addiction?


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