Saturday, 22 September, 2018

World Health Organization Officially Lists Gaming Addiction as Disorder

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Melissa Porter | 22 June, 2018, 17:29

In regard to gaming addiction, "WHO has been working in this area and reviewing the evidence for the last several years, so it's not a sudden decision", explained Dr. Shekhar Saxena, the organization's director of the Department for Mental Health and Substance Use.

The ICD is used by medical practitioners around the world to diagnose conditions and by researchers to categorize conditions.

"For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning", World Health Organization said.

He said there are three major diagnostic features or characteristics of gaming disorder.

The ICD forms a basis for the WHO and other experts to see and respond to trends in health, and is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on the classifications.

A spokesperson for the British Psychological Society, however, cautioned parents about what qualifies as compulsively playing video games.

The WHO writes: "Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities".

Separately, the WHO listed "hazardous gaming", which is when a pattern of gaming "appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to this individual or others around this individual".

"Be on the lookout", he said, noting that concerns should be raised if the gaming habit appears to be taking over. The 11th edition of ICD covers 55,000 injuries, diseases and causes of death.

The games industry raked in $108-billion dollars (R1.4-trillion) worldwide in 2017, more than double movie box-office receipts, according to Superdata, which tracks the games and interactive media sector. Because the United Kingdom has a public health system that follows these guidelines, the National Health Service in Britain might now treat gaming disorder. "It's a little bit premature to label this as a diagnosis", Bean added.

Hence, if addiction of games is now included in the ICD-11, then it means that the issue has indeed become serious, and there are lots of folks who are affected.

"I think in the modern era, and how kids interact with their friends, it's no different than going out and playing out with them", Rairdin said.

"And even most clinicians would probably agree that they don't understand the concept for video games, because they're not immersed in that world or experience", Bean added.