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Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

WHO classifies video game addiction as a mental health disorder

WHO classifies video game addiction as a mental health disorder

However, for people to be classed as suffering from gaming disorder, there will need to be evidence spanning at least 12 months suggesting that the person's other interests and daily activity have been negatively affected by increased gaming and that the situation is continuing to increase despite the warnings.

World Health Organization officials say statistics, mainly from East and South Asian countries, show only a very small two to three percent of people are addicted to Gaming.

Gamers are fighting back against the World Health Organization (WHO), which said yesterday that "gaming disorder" will appear in a new draft of the organization's International Classification of Diseases, a compendium of medical conditions. A mental health professional would also address problematic thoughts associated with either stopping playing or the thoughts that keep them gaming, he says. In ICD-11, these move to the sexual health section.

The symptoms of gaming disorder are quite similar to those seen in substance use and gambling disorders. It's their mode of escapism, they don't want to read a book, they don't want to watch TV, they don't want to go the movies - they want to play video games.

Those of us who game, however, have probably indulged ourselves on a binge of The Sims (or whatever your guilty pleasure is).

Games like Fortnite are more popular than ever, but they may also have renewed fears that games are damaging young minds.

A spokesperson for the British Psychological Society, however, cautioned parents about what qualifies as compulsively playing video games.

The AP notes that The American Psychiatric Association still does not label Gaming Disorder as a mental health condition.

A critical point in engaging with the ICD is that inclusion or exclusion is not a judgement on the validity of a condition or the efficacy of treatment.

ICD-11 will be presented at the World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by member states, and will come into effect on January 1, 2022.

The report, The International Classification of Diseases (ICD- 11), has been updated over the past 10 years.

The new classification also includes a chapter on traditional medicine and medicinal practices and includes gaming as an addictive disorder. Currently, gambling disorder is the only officially recognized behavioral addiction in the US, unlike in China and South Korea, which have rolled out treatment programs for gaming disorder.

The UN health agency said classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will 'serve a public health goal for countries to be better prepared to identify this issue'. The research supporting inclusion is highly contested and inconclusive.

If you suspect that your child has a gaming disorder, it's important to seek help for it.

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