Tuesday, 18 February, 2020


World Health Organisation classifies gaming as addiction

Video gaming-123RF Video gaming-123RF- File
Patty Aguilar | 19 June, 2018, 08:40

As its public listing reads, it is characterized by a pattern of "persistent or recurrent gaming behavior" including impaired control over frequency and duration, increasing priority to give gaming precedence over other "life interests and daily activities", and continuing to game despite 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.

Now, the World Health Organization has concluded that video game addiction is a mental disease.

Last week, the Mirror UK reported that a 9-year old girl was sent to rehab for video game addiction.

If the condition leads to significant distress and impairment in personal, familial, social, educational or occupational functioning. The American Psychiatric Association identified "Internet Gaming Disorder" as an area for further study in the 2013 version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the central resource for identifying and diagnosing disorders in the United States.

He stressed that only a small minority of people who play digital and video games would develop a problem, but said recognition of early warning signs may help prevent it.

"People need to understand this doesn't mean every child who spends hours in their room playing games is an addict, otherwise medics are going to be flooded with requests for help", she said.

To be clear, the medical community isn't exactly rushing in to take everyone's video games away.

"Video gaming is like a non-financial kind of gambling from a psychological point of view", said Griffiths, a distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. The statement is highly critical, citing contested and inconclusive data and concerns of misdiagnosis.

We hope that the World Health Organization will reconsider the mounting evidence put before them before proposing inclusion of "gaming disorder" in the final version of ICD-11 to be endorsed next year. It forms a basis for the World Health Organisation and other experts to see and respond to trends in health. Currently, gambling disorder is the only officially recognized behavioral addiction in the USA, unlike in China and South Korea, which have rolled out treatment programs for gaming disorder.

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