WHO's ICD-11 released: Gaming addiction classified as a mental health condition

WHO classifies compulsive video game playing as a mental health condition | TheHill

WHO classifies compulsive video game playing as a mental health condition | TheHill

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade group for the video game industry, has issued a statement regarding the World Health Organization's new "gaming disorder" disease.

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

Bowden-Jones said gaming addictions were usually best treated with psychological therapies but that some medicines might also work.

World Health Organization officials say statistics, mainly from East and South Asian countries, show only a very small two to three percent of people are addicted to Gaming.

The ICD-11 defines gaming disorder as a pattern of gaming behaviour - "digital-gaming" or "video-gaming".

The latest hit game, "Fortnite", which boasts having 125 million players who compete and battle each other in order to be the last one standing, reportedly earned $296 million in April across consoles, PC, and mobile, according to Super Data Research. 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.

"Everyone who indulges from gaming from time-to-time doesn't have this disorder; it's only a minority of people who game who will satisfy the strict criteria for gaming disorder in ICD-11".

Member states are expected to vote on the document at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2019.

So what is gaming disorder?

"If we understand what genres each person gravitates towards, it informs who they are as a person and why they choose that", Bean said.

The first telltale sign is "gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery", says Poznyak.

"The new catalogue, which still needs to be approved by United Nations member countries, so-called "gender incongruence" is now listed under "conditions related to sexual health", instead of "mental, behavioural and neurodevelopmental disorders".

Terry O'Sullivan, of Blennerville NS in Co Kerry, said there had been concerns about children's use of video games and apps.

"Gaming disorder" is officially listed alongside gambling and other abnormalities caused by addictive behaviors. At the same time, there's been a push and growing interest in things such as e-sports at universities and The Olympics - and grade schools have been looking at video games as a way to teach science, technology, engineering, and math.

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