World Health Organization classifies 'Gaming Disorder' as a disease

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Finally, after years of speculation and concern, we may start to get some scientific answers now that the World Health Organization has made a decision to classify gaming disorder as an addiction, comparable to compulsive gambling or substance abuse.

The WHO has included gaming disorder as a possible addictive behaviour in the latest International Classification of Diseases manual, a draft expected to be approved within a year.

The full description of the newly-added "Gaming Disorder" can be found on the official World Health Organization Classification of Diseases, 11th edition.

WHO has been studying the issue and now has formally classified "gaming disorder" as a mental health condition.

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According to the organization, the disorder is characterized by an impaired ability to control one's gaming habits, to the extent that it begins to negatively impact their daily activities and supersedes their other interests. This has caused a lot of upset throughout the video game industry, with worldwide organisations banding together to release a statement against the recognised addiction.

"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", she said.

Due to be published today, the WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will now include "Gaming Disorder".

Do you think gaming is any worse a compulsion than watching the TV, surfing the web or looking at your smartphone for hours on end?

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"One can be addicted to really anything", said Audrey Nottke, the director of nursing over behavioral health services at Medical Center of Aurora.

Kaufmann said a video game addiction can start to form when a person "abandons a lot of different life areas that most of us would agree lead to higher levels of fulfillment and happiness". However, the DSM falls short of declaring gaming addiction a legitimate disorder.

There's another related condition that's new to ICD-11: Hazardous gaming.

In addition, ICD is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on ICD coding as well as national health program managers, data collection specialists and others tracking progress in global health and determine the allocation of health resources. In ICD-11, these move to the sexual health section.

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The document, which member states will be asked to approve during the World Health Assembly in Geneva next May, will take effect from January 1, 2022 if it is adopted.

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