Video Game Addiction Receives Official Recognition From WHO

Glen Mclaughlin
June 20, 2018

It characterised the addiction as when one has impaired control over their gaming behaviour, and as "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" that becomes so extensive that it "takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities".

"Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities", the World Health Organization says on its website.

Transgender and genderqueer identities, which WHO refers to as "gender incongruence", are in a section about sexual health conditions in a newly updated version of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD).

Finally, after years of speculation and concern, we may start to get some scientific answers now that the World Health Organization has chose to classify gaming disorder as an addiction, comparable to compulsive gambling or substance abuse.

Digging into the terminology a little bit reveals that playing the odd 20-minute game of Federation Internationale de Football Association or plugging an hour into Zelda each weekend is not going to be detrimental to your health.

Some of the leaders in the gaming industry quickly created a joint statement that expressed disapproval of the WHO's decision.

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The statement confirmed the fears of some parents but led critics to warn that it may risk stigmatising too many young video players.

The ICD identifies some 55,000 separate injuries, diseases, conditions and causes of death, and is widely used as a benchmark for diagnoses and health insurance. The U.S. video game industry - through its Entertainment Software Association lobbying group - threw its support behind several academics who opposed the WHO's efforts when it confirmed previous year that they would include "gaming disorder" as a condition.

"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.

Others welcomed the move, saying it was critical to identify video game addicts quickly because they are usually teenagers or young adults who do not seek help themselves.

Now, the World Health Organization has concluded that video game addiction is a mental disease.

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. The ICD-11 will be presented to all WHO member states for ratification in May 2019, during the World Health Assembly.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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