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Published: Fri, December 29, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Excessive video gaming to be named mental health disorder

Excessive video gaming to be named mental health disorder

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it will recognise the effects of obsessive video gaming as a mental health disorder in 2018.

The addition of this this condition would mean that Gaming Disorder could be diagnosed by a physician or recognized by insurance providers.

Do you ever find yourself prioritizing video games over other interests?

"Impaired control" is the key phrase in this definition, with the apparent disorder leading gaming to "take precedence" over basically every other aspect of the addict's life.

Martin believes online gaming, where there isn't necessarily a reset button and can lead to gaming times which can end up unlimited, are different than old school gaming he grew up on.

In a draft of WHO's 11th update of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), gaming disorder has been included in the category of "mental, behavioural or neurodevelopmental disorders". It also lists conditions medical personnel can use to decide if a gamer's behaviour can be described as a mental health disorder. Despite wildly conflicting individual studies and expert opinions, efforts from industry leaders have slowly cemented a concept of "gaming disorder". Declaring that the proposal had "fundamental issues" like poor research quality and a lack of consensus, the paper warned that a rushed decision could have bad consequences. The WHO did not specify how many hours classifies as "excessive", and there isn't yet a specified treatment. Psychologists speaking with Kotaku suggest that gaming addiction is more often a symptom of a condition like depression or anxiety.

"Most people who play video games don't have a disorder, just like most people who drink alcohol don't have a disorder either", he added.

Martin Lucero has a simple solution, saying parents should enforce some form of limitations to video game time for their kids. Like other types of addiction, gaming disorder affects a person's ability to function in everyday life. It could contribute to a stigma around gaming that affects healthy gamers.

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