Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Compulsive video-game playing now new mental health problem

Melissa Porter | 19 June, 2018, 06:28

The agency defined it as a pattern of behaviour characterized by "impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences".

He stressed that only a small minority of people who play digital and video games would develop a problem, but said recognition of early warning signs may help prevent it.

Online and offline "gaming disorder" is grouped with "disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviours" in the ICD's 11th edition, the first major revision in almost three decades.

That means doctors can diagnose and offer treatment to someone with the condition.

Others welcomed WHO's new classification, saying it was critical to identify people hooked on video games quickly because they are usually teenagers or young adults who don't seek help themselves.

"After consulting with experts across the world, and reviewing evidence in an exhaustive manner, we decided that this condition should be added", Shekhar Saxena, director of the WHO's department of mental health and substance abuse, told AFP.

"We come across parents who are distraught, not only because they're seeing their child drop out of school, but because they're seeing an entire family structure fall apart", said Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokeswoman for behavioral addictions at Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The AP notes that The American Psychiatric Association still does not label Gaming Disorder as a mental health condition.

Bowden-Jones said gaming addictions were usually best treated with psychological therapies but that some medicines might also work.

Last week, the Mirror UK reported that a 9-year old girl was sent to rehab for video game addiction.

Saxena said approximately two to three percent of gamers are likely affected by this condition and said many parents should make sure to consistently observe the habits of their children.