Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

'Gaming disorder' diagnosed as mental health condition

'Gaming disorder' diagnosed as mental health condition

For instance, some people working on stroke have always been pushing for it to be moved from circulatory diseases, where it has been for 6 decades, into neurological disease, where it now sits in ICD-11.

"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", Dr. Joan Harvey said. 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.

As part of that process a draft for a "gaming disorder" has been written up to be included in the new International Classification of Diseases (ICD) manual - which hasn't had a new version since 1992 - but video game makers are not happy about the process.

In South Korea and the United States, clinics have sprung up to treat video game addiction, along with community and online support groups.

According to WHO, health concerns associated with gaming behavior include insufficient physical activity, unhealthy diet, problems with eyesight or hearing, musculoskeletal problems, sleep deprivation, aggressive behavior, depression and psychosocial functioning. Gaming continues unabated or even escalates. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and learning ways to live with computers responsibly. Experts worldwide are urging caution regarding the World Health Organization's proposed "gaming disorder" as it may lead to misdiagnosis of real mental health conditions.

A 2013 statement from the group said it's "a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for inclusion" in its manual.

All in all, these characteristics are very similar to what you'd use to determine similar addiction-related behaviors, such as substance use disorder or gambling disorder. There wasn't, for instance, enough data to prove the existence of potential tech-based conditions such as smartphone addiction or internet addiction, he said.

The wording of the new entries has been known since January, when the World Health Organization announced problem gaming would be recognised as a pathological condition.

UKIE already has their own FAQ up about the issue, which explains the controversy and the genuine disagreement in academic circles as to whether gaming addiction counts as a separate disorder. This official recognition of the condition will raise awareness among doctors and healthcare networks, as well as improving the odds that "people who suffer from these conditions [will] get appropriate help".

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