'Gaming disorder' will soon be classified as a mental health condition

Video gaming-123RF

TRANSGENDERISM is no longer listed as a "mental disorder" in the World Health Organisation's updated catalogue of diseases.

"Gaming disorder" has three main characteristics. With gaming disorder in the ICD, it will help alert medical professionals so that people who suffer from the described condition can get appropriate help.

Since the IDC is used by physicians to define diseases and mental health conditions, it draws the line between recreational playing, playing as a hobby and the actual point where it becomes problematic.

World Health Organization notes that for diagnosis, the behavior pattern has to be of sufficient severity and present negative effects on the individual's life.

It added that such behavioural pattern would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.

The classification was also lambasted on social media, with users linking the concern about gaming addiction more to moral panic than solid evidence.

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Without the ICD's ability to provide standardized, consistent data, each country or region would have its own classifications that would most likely only be relevant locally.

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told CNN the number of people classified with the disorder is "very low". It's also when that gamer also can not control their behavior.

"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).

"We understand that our industry and supporters around the world will continue raising their voices in opposition to this move and urge the WHO to avoid taking steps that would have unjustified implications for national health systems across the world". Medical practitioners and by researchers around the world use it to diagnose and categorise conditions.

The new ICD-11 also reflects progress in medicine and advances in scientific understanding.

The symptoms are similar to what one can see in someone who is addicted to gambling, for example, as the WHo says that disorders due to "addictive behaviors include gambling disorder and gaming disorder, which may involve both online and offline behaviour". The American Psychiatric Association identified "Internet Gaming Disorder" as an area for further study in the 2013 version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the central resource for identifying and diagnosing disorders in the United States.

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