World Health Organisation Classifies Gaming Addiction as a Mental Health Disorder

The World Health Organisation has defining gaming addiction as a mental disorder but some think it's an overreaction

But experts say parents of video game enthusiasts should not panic.

VIDEO gaming can be addictive in the same way as cocaine or gambling, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today, in a much-anticipated update of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

A draft of the International Classification of Diseases manual includes a new definition for "gaming disorder" that is now pending approval.

This decision by the World Health Organization intends to encourage those whose lives are negatively effected by video games to come forward and seek help.

Treatment for gaming disorder is generally based in cognitive behavioral therapy, which would generally be done in two phases, Simon Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

"We know that depression, anxiety, (suicide are) correlated with how many hours one spends on the screen".

The WHO stressed that only a small number of people who use digital or video games develop gaming disorder.

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The World Health Organization defines gaming disorder as a pattern of gaming behavior that is "characterized by impaired control over gaming".

Visitors play video games on June 12, 2018, at a Nintendo of America Inc. booth at E3, a large-scale computer and video game event held in Los Angeles.

This classification means health professionals and systems will be more "alerted to the existence of this condition" while boosting the possibility that "people who suffer from these conditions can get appropriate help", Vladimir Poznyak, a member of the WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, was quoted as telling the CNN. People with gaming disorder increasingly prioritize gaming over other activities, even when that could yield negative consequences.

In its latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases, "gender dysphoria" - or transgenderism, in layman's terms - is not listed as a mental disorder any longer, but as a "gender incongruence", which has also been moved out of the mental disorder category.

The ICD-11 isn't yet finished, though: The publication won't be endorsed as a final release until 2019, and won't be fully adopted until 2022. The definition of the disorder in the ICD goes on to say: "The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning".

And yet, that hasn't spotted the larger game industry from coming forward to criticize the diagnosis. The research supporting inclusion is highly contested and inconclusive.

The agency said classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a seperate condition will "serve a public health goal for countries to be better prepared to identify this issue".

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