Video game addiction named disorder by World Health Organization


"Experts worldwide are urging caution regarding the World Health Organization's proposed "gaming disorder" as it may lead to misdiagnosis of real mental health conditions", The Entertainment Software Association, which represents many gaming companies, argued in a statement today.

WHO said that by classifying "gaming disorder" on its own, it will help gamers, families, governments, and health care workers to be more aware of gaming disorders. This means "gaming addiction" will now be considered as a unique mental health condition, which is likened to substance abuse.

Dr Say said while listening to patient groups was crucial, the decision was formed based on reviewed scientific evidence and feedback from the professional health community. It said the negative pattern of behavior usually needs to last for 12 months before a diagnosis can be made.

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An estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association, a United States body representing video game publishers. There's a difference between just enjoying playing video games and being addicted, mind; in fact, there are three primary criteria by which it's judged. For the first time, in this edition, the ICD has named and described "gaming disorder" in the section on addictive disorders.

In its latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases, "gender dysphoria" - or transgenderism, in layman's terms - is not listed as a mental disorder any longer, but as a "gender incongruence", which has also been moved out of the mental disorder category.

But the number suffering from this mental health condition is enough to study the behavioral pattern and create a treatment program, the organization says.

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The games industry is not hugely pleased by the recognition of gaming disorder.

The WHO follows the likes of France and Denmark who have already removed transgenderism from the list of mental disorders. One, that the gaming behaviour takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are pushed to the periphery.

"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. Working with them and understanding their games, he said, "you can actually see overt qualities of their gaming style and the way they actually interact with the world around them".

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Others, however, saw the official designation as causing needless concern among parents.