Gaming disorder is now classified as a mental health condition


VIDEO gaming can be addictive in the same way as cocaine or gambling, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today, in a much-anticipated update of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

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

However, video gaming addiction appears to be treated in a similar way as how the World Health Organization described a gambling addiction.

Additional criteria for a diagnosis of gaming disorder include that the individual has to have had the condition for at least 12 months before it can be so classified. These games are commonly played on electronic and video devices. This time, concerns go all the way to the World Health Organization.

The UN health agency said classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will 'serve a public health objective for countries to be better prepared to identify this issue'.

Priority given to gaming, and gaming takes precedence over other interests and activities.

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Since past year, the World Health Organisation has tried to pin down video gaming that has a net negative impact on life as a disorder - but it was originally a bit wishy-washy in what it classed as a disorder. "We are therefore concerned to see "gaming disorder" still contained in the latest version of the WHO's ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community".

Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The ICD provides data on the causes of thousands of diseases, injuries and deaths across the globe and information on prevention and treatment.

Gaming disorders usually are linked to a system of rewards or incentives, such as accumulating points in competition with others or winning money.

'People need to understand this doesn't mean every child who spends hours in their room playing games is an addict, otherwise medics are going to be flooded with requests for help, ' she said.

The manual defines gaming disorder as "characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior", and puts emphasis on online game play.

The games industry raked in $108 billion dollars worldwide in 2017, more than double movie box-office receipts, according to Superdata, which tracks the games and interactive media sector. This could pave the way for such treatments to be covered by insurance as insurance reimbursements are also based on ICD coding.