WHO declares gaming addiction to be a mental health disorder

20 June, 2018, 03:48 | Author: Denise Dawson
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"Disorders due to addictive behaviours are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviours other than the use of dependence-producing substances", writes the WHO.

In its latest revision to a disease classification manual, the United Nations health agency said Monday that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a mental health condition.

But experts say parents of video game enthusiasts shouldn't panic.

The first telltale sign is "gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery", says Poznyak.

Video games across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms are enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, with the educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games being well-founded and widely recognised.

Playing video games too often is now characterized as a mental health disorder, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In a way it's similar to the DSM, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

"The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent", reads the WHO's classification of gaming disorder.

Simply playing a lot of video games does not automatically mean that someone has a problem.

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The International Classification of Diseases was last revised 28 years ago.

"Be careful if the person you are with, a child or another person is using Gaming in an excessive manner..."

In South Korea and the United States, clinics have sprung up to treat video game addiction, along with community and online support groups.

Still, not all medical officials believe gaming disorder is a stand-alone condition.

What's your stance in gaming addiction?

This is the first revision of the codes to be completely electronic, which World Health Organization officials said was a better way to group conditions, and would enable patient safety to be recorded more easily.

This latest version - known as ICD-11 - is completely electronic for the first time, to try to make it more accessible to doctors and other health workers around the world.

"A key principle in this revision was to simplify the coding structure and electronic tooling - this will allow health care professionals to more easily and completely record conditions", said Dr. Robert Jakob, leader of the WHO's Classifications Terminologies and Standards team.


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