World Health Organisation deems 'gaming addiction' a mental health disorder

Gaming disorder could soon be treated in public health sector

On Monday, the U.N.'s health agency announced it will add extreme video game playing as a condition in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases manual.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association decided not to classify gaming addiction as a distinct disorder, and said it required further research alongside conditions such as caffeine use disorder.

Interestingly, the revision also says that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition.

"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", reads the statement co-signed by UKIE, EGDF, ESA, ESAC, IESA, IGEA, ISFE, KGAMES and UBV&G. According to the World Health Organization, a gamer must be showing serious side effects like disrupted sleep and diet and a sharp drop in physical activity for at least a year before they can be diagnosed with a disorder.

Experts believe it might increase the chances that insurance companies cover treatment for video game addiction, which is often costly.

The condition will be added to the WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

It means you're unlikely to claim any disability benefits because you game a lot, because you're all a balanced lot who play games in a healthy way.

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To be diagnosed with gaming disorder, a person's behavior must significantly impact other important aspects of their life, such as their relationships or their ability to hold down a job.

"One can be addicted to really anything", said Audrey Nottke, the director of nursing over behavioral health services at Medical Center of Aurora.

WHO's latest catalogue also has a new chapter on traditional medicine, which previously went unmentioned, despite being used by millions of people around the world.

In other words, if excessive gaming is having a continual and sustained negative effect on the rest of your life, then you're suffering from gaming disorder.

The wording of the new entries has been known since January, when World Health Organization announced "problem gaming" would be recognised as a pathological condition. "We welcome the inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11, which will over time help to understand the true prevalence of harmful gaming".

The updated ICD is scheduled to be presented to WHO member states at their annual World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption in January 2022, WHO said in a statement.

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