Professor commends decision to classify gaming addiction as mental health disorder

Gaming addiction listed as mental health disorder by WHO

Gaming addiction listed as mental health disorder by WHO

Gaming addiction is to be listed as a mental health condition for the first time by the World Health Organisation.

As Cinemablend notes, the decision by the World Health Organization to label gaming as a disorder is being taken seriously by those in the community for fear that it would lead to further stigmatization. At any rate, the WHO ICD will be revised until its final release later this year.

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The BBC spoke to Dr Richard Graham, lead technology addiction specialist at London's Nightingale Hospital, who welcomed the move: "It puts it on the map as something to take seriously". He also noted, however, that: "It could lead to confused parents whose children are just enthusiastic gamers". "If you just treat the depression and not gaming, the gaming is likely to come back".

This is only a draft and is being adjusted regularly, and PC Gamer pointed out that a similar proposal was raised for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders a few years ago, but at the time there wasn't enough evidence for it to go through. It still needs to be approved and this is what the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) wants to stop, GamesIndustry.biz reports. We strongly encourage the World Health Organization to reverse direction on its proposed action'.

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Video game playing, either online or offline, must be "normally evident over a period of at least 12 months" for this diagnosis to be made, according to the beta draft guidance. "The increased risk may be from the frequency of gaming, from the amount of time spent on these activities, from the neglect of other activities and priorities, from risky behaviours associated with gaming or its context, from the adverse consequences of gaming, or from the combination of these".

"Disorders due to addictive behaviours include gambling disorder and gaming disorder, which may involve both online and off-line behaviour".

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