WHO just declared 'gaming disorder' as official


For the first time, the World Health Organization is adding Gaming disorder to the section on Mental and Addictive Disorders in its new International Classification of Diseases.

The UN health agency, in its updated classification manual realeased on Monday, said video game addiction should now officially read "gaming disorder".

"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 WHO's department of mental health and substance abuse, told AFP.

"For mental health conditions, ICD codes are especially important since the ICD is a diagnostic tool, and thus, these are the conditions that often garner much of the interest in the ICD", it continues.

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Addiction to video games has been classed as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organization.

"Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital or video-gaming activities", a briefing on the disorder said. One, that the gaming behaviour takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are pushed to the periphery. So far, the American Psychiatric Association has declined to classify gaming addiction as a disorder but has said it merits further research.

"It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives", WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as the ICD was published.

And perhaps the most positive immediate fallout from this will come from folks who needed a wake up call about the seriousness of not just gaming, but other forms of online addiction. As Matt Gilland explains games can provide a lot of good things too. These games are commonly played on electronic and video devices.

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Addition of gaming to this list of disorders has put it on the list of habits that can get problematic when not controlled on the level of gambling, alcohol, nicotine, and drugs. Medical practitioners and by researchers around the world use it to diagnose and categorise conditions.

According to the ICD-11, gaming disorder is when a person loses control over their ability to play games - they can't choose how, when or for how long they spend playing games. Are you concerned about any other internet-related disorders? "The gaming prompts a neurological response that influences feelings of pleasure and reward, and the result, in the extreme, is manifested as addictive behavior".

ICD-11 also includes changes to sexual health classifications.

It also includes new chapters, one on traditional medicine: although millions of people use traditional medicine worldwide, it has never been classified in this system.

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