Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

The WHO officially puts gaming on its list of addictions

The WHO officially puts gaming on its list of addictions

The World Health Organization on Monday said that compulsively playing video games classifies as a mental health condition.

Continuing the same damaging gaming behavior despite negative consequences such as deterioration of personal, family, social, educational, occupational interactions and responsibilities.

According to the World Health Organization, the gaming behaviour and related features have to be observed in an individual over a period of 12 months for an official diagnosis to be considered.

Watching as video games ensnare their children, many parents have grumbled about "digital heroin", likening the flashing images to one of the world's most addictive substances.

As of today, "gaming disorder" will appear in Internal Classification of Diseases, the organization's compendium of over 55,000 injuries and medical conditions.

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In addition, ICD is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on ICD coding as well as national health program managers, data collection specialists and others tracking progress in global health and determine the allocation of health resources. Of course, the disorder has been criticized from a number of corners, including health professionals who have written it off as being overly broad and subjective.

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It is not yet clear exactly when treatment for the mental health condition will be available on the NHS.

Griffiths said playing video games, for the vast majority of people, is more about entertainment and novelty, citing the overwhelming popularity of games like "Pokemon Go".

We spoke to one parent who says he isn't sure if he'd classify his son's gaming as a disorder, but did say his son's infatuation with Fortnite is nearly like hypnosis.

Why was gaming disorder included in ICD-11? For example, Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist, clinician and researcher speaking to CNN said that gaming is often more of a "coping mechanism for either anxiety or depression".

Back at the shop in Cedar Rapids, Rairdin will sometimes offers advice about controlling video game use. Gaming disorder can lead to disturbed sleep patterns, diet problems and deficiency in physical activities. And the kind of game that someone is gravitating toward is really important if we're going to understand why someone would get addicted to it. We are therefore concerned to see "gaming disorder" still contained in the latest version of the WHO's ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community.

Absolutely anything - watching too much football on TV, doing too much research - could be considered behaviorally addictive if mental health professionals do not insist on more rigorous study of the issue.

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