Medical

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

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

"Disorders due to addictive behaviours are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviours other than the use of dependence-producing substances", writes the WHO.

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

These statistics form the basis for healthcare provision everywhere and is at the core of mapping disease trends and epidemics and helping governments decide how money is spent on health services. The overwhelming majority of video game adepts are young, many in their teens.

However, she warns that video gaming addiction affects just a small percentage of the world's population - but adds that "it must be recognised" early, as it can "last a year before diagnosis".

According to the newly updated classification, there are three major signs to diagnose gaming disorder in a person.




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. In the United Kingdom, the country's National Health Service has now started offering free treatment for those experiencing the disorder, though exactly what treatment would be most effective is still under discussion. It also forms basis for the worldwide standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is concerning to see the "gaming disorder" proposal in this draft despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community.

The gaming industry is also speaking out against the move. "It's a little bit premature to label this as a diagnosis", Bean added.

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. For example, Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist, clinician and researcher speaking to CNN said that gaming is often more of a "coping mechanism for either anxiety or depression".

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

Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokeswoman for behavioral addictions at Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists said: "We come across parents who are distraught, not only because they're seeing their child drop out of school, but because they're seeing an entire family structure fall apart".


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