Compulsive video-gaming now officially a new mental health problem

Compulsive video-gaming now officially a new mental health problem

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

36 internationally renowned and respected mental health experts, leading social scientists and academics from research centers and universities - including Oxford University, Johns Hopkins University, Stockholm University and The University of Sydney - will oppose, in an upcoming journal paper, the World Health Organization's (WHO) plan to create a new gaming disorder classification.

On Monday, the U.N.'s health agency announced it will add extreme video game playing as a condition in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases manual.

"Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities", explained the WHO.

How will the World Health Organization classification of gaming disorder affect Americans? As its public listing reads, it is characterized by a pattern of "persistent or recurrent gaming behavior" including impaired control over frequency and duration, increasing priority to give gaming precedence over other "life interests and daily activities", and continuing to game despite negative consequences.

Dr. Levounis said he suspects the American Psychiatric Assocation will elevate gaming disorder to full-recognition status in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

"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. Cases similar to hers, where people place essential body functions such as eating and using the bathroom lower on their survival list than playing video games, are not rare. Recategorizing transgender as a sexual health condition is aimed at cutting stigma and improving quality of care, says the WHO.

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37 percent of gamers say they have made at least half a dozen good friends through gaming.

Clinicians have also debated the validity of establishing a gaming disorder, as it shares many characteristics with other addictive disorders.

In its latest revision to a disease classification manual called the International Classification of Diseases, or I.C.D., the United Nations health agency explains the change and why it has (finally) removed the transgender mental disorder classification.

Still, not all medical officials believe gaming disorder is a stand-alone condition.

ICD-11 will be presented to the World Health Assembly to be voted upon in May 2019, and will go into effect in January 2022.

Gaming disorder rubs shoulders with conditions such as gambling disorder, substance abuse, and addictive hoarding in the ICD.

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