‘Gaming Disorder’ Added To WHO’s List Of Mental Health Conditions

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The agency described the addiction as a "pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" that becomes so extensive it "takes precedence over other life interests". The hallmark of the disorder is that playing games overtakes other desires, and that it continues or escalates despite negative consequences. The latest edition also has a new chapter on traditional medicine.

Take a peek at ICD-11's entry on "gambling disorder" and you'll find nearly identical language; In other words, video game addiction has become so notable that it's worth including in a global medical reference document, as the World Health Organization stated in its introduction to ICD-11.

A 2015 Ontario Student Drug Use and Mental Health Survey showed that 13% of students between grades seven and 12 reported symptoms of a problem with video games.

"People need to understand this doesn't mean every child who spends hours in their room playing games is an addict, otherwise medics are going to be flooded with requests for help", Dr. Joan Harvey said. That could stem from time sunk into gaming, or neglecting other priorities, or from risky behaviors associated with it (like, say, forgetting to eat or sleep).

More news: Israel says indicts ex-cabinet minister over alleged spying for Iran

"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", the statement reads. The statement is highly critical, citing contested and inconclusive data and concerns of misdiagnosis.

They work to address mental health issues - depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder (ADD), while coming to grips with factors that might lead to increased virtual connection and developing an individualized plan for how to engage with digital media in a healthy way.

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

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. The question is whether the games industry can provide enough current research to counter the gaming disorder definition before the manual is approved sometime next year.

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