wnol.info July 16 2018

Video Game Addiction Classified As A Disorder By World Health Organization

July 16 2018, 04:32 | Rex Rios

A gamer plays video games with a Xbox console during the 2017 Paris Games Week exhibition

Playing video games compulsively now qualifies as new mental health problem

The number of people this might affect would be a very small percentage of people who play games.

In its revised International Classification of Diseases released Monday, the WHO removed transgender identity as a mental health disorder and added gaming disorder to the list.

It also includes a section on video gaming, recognising gaming disorder as a pathological condition that can be addictive in the same way as cocaine.

She added, "In terms of health care provisions, we don't expect much change, because this category will still have a place in ICD".

Much like gambling addiction, gaming addiction has similar traits with people giving ever-more time to gaming and the pursuit of achievements and awards at the expense of other activities.

The video gaming industry is fighting back against WHO's decision, calling their ruling flawed and likely to cause confusion and undue concern. The latest edition also has a new chapter on traditional medicine.

An attendee plays a video game at E3, the world's largest video game industry convention in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 12, 2018.

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World Health Organization defines gaming disorder as a pattern of gaming behavior ("digital-gaming" or "video-gaming") characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite occurrence of negative consequences.

Dr Shekhar Saxena, director for the department for mental health from the WHO, told Euronews in a conference call, that video gaming disorder "can be present at any age" but particularly in adolescents and the young.

For a diagnosis, the behavior pattern should last at least 12 months, though the World Health Organization is proposing exceptions in severe cases.

Mental health experts have long spoken out against the harmful effects of prolonged gaming, but this is the first time that it is being officially recognised as a mental health disorder by the global body. "The gaming prompts a neurological response that influences feelings of pleasure and reward, and the result, in the extreme, is manifested as addictive behavior". The research supporting inclusion is highly contested and inconclusive.

"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).

"The people with gender identity disorder should be not categorized as a mental disorder because in many cases, in many countries it can be stigmatizing, and it can actually decrease their chances of seeking help because of legal provisions in many countries", said Saxena.

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