Finally, after years of speculation and concern, we may start to get some scientific answers now that the World Health Organization has made a decision to classify gaming disorder as an addiction, comparable to compulsive gambling or substance abuse.
Now, there's more weight behind their argument: The World Health Organization (WHO) has including "gaming disorder" as a new mental health condition listed in the 11 edition of its International Classification of Diseases.
"The new catalogue, which still needs to be approved by United Nations member countries, so-called "gender incongruence" is now listed under "conditions related to sexual health", instead of "mental, behavioural and neurodevelopmental disorders".
They continue on to assure the masses that playing video games for hours on end doesn't necessarily mean you have the disorder, the situation must be much more serious than binge gaming.
The agency described the addiction as a "pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" that becomes so extensive it "takes precedence over other life interests".
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Last year, a study from almost 30 academics opposed the gaming disorder classification, saying their addiction was best viewed as a coping mechanism associated with underlying problems such as anxiety or depression.
We want to hear from our readers about gaming disorders and whether they have been affected by this issue. These games are commonly played on electronic and video devices. The WHO was discussing adding gaming addition back in December 2017, when it introduced it in a draft version of ICD-11. This isn't to dismiss the value of gaming disorder entirely, but to highlight the growing concern at moving forward without concrete evidence to support the connection between video games and true real life problems. Gambling disorder was in ICD-10, but gaming disorder relates to "digital or video gaming".
"One can be addicted to really anything", said Audrey Nottke, the director of nursing over behavioral health services at Medical Center of Aurora.
It also includes new chapters, one on traditional medicine: although millions of people use traditional medicine worldwide, it has never been classified in this system.
Housing almost 55,000 medical issues, the ICD-11 is used for clinical care, research, and is rarely given major revisions, so it is a legitimately big deal that gaming addiction has been added to its pages.
The ICD-11 doesn't come into effect until January 1, 2022, with today's release being "an advanced preview" to give countries the chance to prepare for its changes.