Gaming addiction declared a mental disorder

Gaming addiction declared a mental disorder

Since a year ago, the World Health Organisation has tried to pin down video gaming that has a net negative impact on life as a disorder - but it was originally a bit wishy-washy in what it classed as a disorder.

In the 11th revision of its International Classification of Diseases, the group included gaming disorder as an addictive behavior disorder. This means those who play for fun can be easily differentiated to those who need help as their gaming has taken over to unhealthy proportions.

A search on the internet points to a 35-year-old woman who died last year after playing the World of Tanks video game, broadcast on video game streaming service Twitch, for 24 hours. The WHO warned that those suffering from "gaming disorder" can suffer impacts to their family, social, educational, and occupational lives. "Even when the negative consequences occur, this behavior continues or escalates".

It added that such behavioural pattern would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.

But the definition is controversial - not everyone agrees that it's the right thing to classify excessive gaming as a disorder.

"ICD is a cornerstone of health information and ICD-11 will deliver an up-to-date view of the patterns of disease", said Lubna Alansari, WHO's Assistant Director-General (Health Metrics and Measurement).


In spite of what may appear to be universal symptoms, however, the organization is quick to note that the prevalence of gaming disorder, as defined by the WHO, is actually "very low".

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects 2-3pc of people who play video games.

So the World Health Organization puts "gaming disorder" on a list. 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. He adds that the organization followed "the trends, the developments, which have taken place in populations and in the professional field". It's also when that gamer also can not control their behavior. Working full-time, he keeps active by playing sport, but he said it was "totally understandable" that gaming can become addictive.

Saxena said parents and friends of video game enthusiasts should still be mindful of a potentially harmful problem.

For parents or others who are concerned about a far-too-avid gamer, the first step is becoming "as informed as possible", recommended Bean, who is an author of a guidebook for clinicians wishing to work with gamers.

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