Health Care

Gaming addiction set to be recognised as a mental health disorder

Gaming addiction set to be recognised as a mental health disorder

Geneva: WHO will include "gaming disorder" in its list of mental health conditions in the beta draft of its forthcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases.

In its current draft of the latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization defines the disorder as a recurring behavior pattern that significantly impairs a person's personal, social and work life.

Specifically, the draft's language states that gaming behavior could be a disorder if it meets three characteristics: if a person loses control over their gaming habits, if they start to prioritize gaming over many other interests or activities, and if they continue playing despite clear negative consequences. It was last updated 27 years ago, in 1990. It may be either "continuous or episodic and recurrent", and, while typically diagnosed following "a period of at least 12 months" of evidence, has no concrete time requirement.

Can excessive video gaming become a health hazard?

While some may debate whether gaming does pose a threat to mental health, the amount of time many people spend playing video games is astounding.

The World Health Organization could soon recognize “gaming disorder.”
The World Health Organization could soon recognize “gaming disorder.”

Although it's rare, gamers have died during marathon gaming sessions, according to the Washington Post.

For the vast majority of gamers, of course, this doesn't develop into a genuine problem. They are the same questions used to determine if someone has an alcohol addiction, Forbes magazine says. Cosette Rae, who co-founded ReSTART, a facility for treating internet and gaming addiction, sees 32 patients a day. She is supportive of the World Health Organization draft. Playing Guild Wars 2 in complete solitude for a year isn't a lot like getting blackout drunk at a bar every single night of that same year.

She says parents need to be involved, especially when kids receive new games for Christmas.

- Some of you may have had video games under your Christmas tree, but be careful.

"You can get immersed in whatever you do if you really love it", he said. But is it worth codifying "gaming disorder" into something that could cast a shadow over normal game use-or distract from treating well-known disorders that might inspire over-eager gaming in the first place?





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