'Gaming disorder' diagnosed as mental health condition

WHO has said gaming disorder is a serious health condition that requires monitoring

WHO has said gaming disorder is a serious health condition that requires monitoring

"And let me emphasise that this is a clinical condition, and clinical diagnosis can be made only by health professionals which are properly trained to do that", he noted.

The World Health Organization states that, "Gaming disorder is defined in the draft 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior ("digital-gaming" or "video-gaming") characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences". The statement confirmed the fears of some parents but led critics to warn that it may risk stigmatizing too many young video players.

Others welcomed WHO's new classification, saying it was critical to identify people hooked on video games quickly because they are usually teenagers or young adults who don't seek help themselves.

This decision by the World Health Organization intends to encourage those whose lives are negatively effected by video games to come forward and seek help.

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

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.

The American Psychiatric Association has not yet deemed gaming disorder to be a new mental health problem.

In a study to be published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, a group of 36 researchers said there was insufficent evidence to warrant the new category. Still, nothing quite compares to this 9-year old girl who opted to keep playing Fortnite rather than use the bathroom. Dr Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO's department for mental health, told ITV that this is in addition to "the need and the demand for treatment in many parts of the world".

The move means that people will now be able to receive treatment for their addictions to video games and that the NHS in the United Kingdom will be able to provide treatment to children addicted to games free of charge.

"Be on the lookout", he said.

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