Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

World Health Organization classifies compulsive playing of video games as a mental disorder

World Health Organization classifies compulsive playing of video games as a mental disorder

"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.

On Monday, June 18th, the World Health Organization officially added "Gaming Disorder" to their 11th "Classification of Diseases" listing, and ignited a vast debate among community members in regards to its severity.

Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

In order for a video-gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of "sufficient severity" in order to result in major detrimental effects in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other vital areas of functioning.

About gaming disorder, the World Health Organization says it affects only a "small proportion of people", and that the characteristics denoting the condition must be present in someone for at least 12 months before it can be officially diagnosed as a disorder.

The WHO follows the likes of France and Denmark who have already removed transgenderism from the list of mental disorders. In a video on the organisation's website, Dr Shekar Saxena, who heads the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, say that gaming disorder is "uncommon, but are still very important".

WHO's new ICD-11 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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The ICD contains around 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death. "The pattern of gaming is often persists in spite of awareness of increased risk of harm to the individual or to others".

"Be careful if the person you are with, a child or another person is using Gaming in an excessive manner..."

The WHO decision to list gaming as a disorder in the publication which helps the agency chart health trends has been welcomed by many who agree that it is easy to become addicted to the virtual world.

The ICD 11 also introduced the related condition of Hazardous gaming.

Smartphone, social media, and even gaming de-addiction facilities have always been set-up at institutions throughout the country, with many parents bringing in their children to be treated for addiction to gadgets.

This latest version, ICD-11, is completely electronic for the first time, in an effort to make it more accessible to doctors and other health workers around the world.

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