Gaming disorder recognized by World Health Organization

Lynette PayneJun 19, 2018

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.

The ICD is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on ICD classifications.

Interestingly, the revision also says that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition. "Increased frequency and intensity" of gaming has been cited as a predominant attribute of the disorder.

World Health Organization says on its website that all people who participate in gaming should be aware that gaming disorder is a real condition, and that it's important to be mindful of how often they play video games.

Some 2.5 billion people - one-in-three worldwide - play some form of free-to-play screen game, especially on cell phones, but the disorder only affects a "small minority", said Saxena.

However, Vladimir Poznyak of the WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse told New Scientist a year ago, when the agency first revealed its decision to include gaming disorder in its diagnostic manual, that the move was supported by sufficient evidence. As you can see here, gaming addiction is still there in the ICD-11.

Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The problem comes when gaming takes priority over school, socialization or work. And in South Korea, at least two children have starved to death, likely because their caretaking parents were busy playing video games.

The inclusion of "gaming disorder" in WHO's revised catalogue of diseases met with resistence, both from industry and some experts.

He said most interventions or treatments are "based on the principles and methods of cognitive behavioral therapy". The American Psychiatric Association identified "Internet Gaming Disorder" as an area for further study in the 2013 version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the central resource for identifying and diagnosing disorders in the United States.

"Gaming disorder" is officially listed alongside gambling and other abnormalities caused by addictive behaviors.

The new addition will help medical professionals diagnose it in patients - and in return, an increasing number of people may be able to seek treatment that is covered by insurance.

"We are not saying that all gaming is pathological".

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