World Health Organization considers 'Gaming Disorder' a unique mental health condition

Compulsive video-game playing now new mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing now new mental health problem

WHO said classifying "gaming disorder" as a separate addiction will help governments, families and health care workers be more vigilant and prepared to identify the risks.

A major venture for the World Health Organization is creating and maintaining the International Classification of Diseases, which is a grading system that assists in identifying a wide range of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, and much more.

"The person does so much gaming that other interests and activities are ignored, including sleeping and eating", Saxena said by phone. The pattern of gaming behavior may be continuous or episodic and recurrent.

The World Health Organization just added "Gaming Disorder" to its list of modern ills.

Key symptoms include "impaired control" - notably the inability to stop playing - and focusing on the game to the exclusion of everything else.

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Simply playing a lot of video games does not automatically mean that someone has a problem. But research shows that for a small number their gaming can become harmful, or an addiction.

The ICD-11 is still under review, so its content may shift.

It's also worth mentioning that even with this definition, diagnosis standards are quite high.

Fortnite: Battle Royale, which is one of the most played video games of the year, is played by millions of people worldwide every day, and was completely free for gamers to download. The statement is highly critical, citing contested and inconclusive data and concerns of misdiagnosis. We are therefore concerned to see "gaming disorder" still contained in the latest version of the WHO's ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community. "We understand that our industry and supporters around the world will continue raising their voices in opposition to this move and urge the WHO to avoid taking steps that would have unjustified implications for national health systems across the world". The U.S. video game industry - through its Entertainment Software Association lobbying group - threw its support behind several academics who opposed the WHO's efforts when it confirmed previous year that they would include "gaming disorder" as a condition.

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