World Health Organization to classify gaming addiction as mental disorder

Gaming disorder to be named a mental health condition for the first time

Yesterday, when a draft of the World Health Organization's 2018 worldwide classification of diseases made the rounds, readers raised an eyebrow at one entry in particular: 6D11, or "gaming disorder".

In the past, video game addiction has led to some pretty extreme outcomes, including one death in 2005 when a man played StarCraft for more than two days straight with barely any breaks.

USA Today reports that the WHO's draft criteria for gaming disorder are "recurrent" game-playing sessions resulting in "impaired control over gaming", "increasing priority given to gaming", and "escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences". Like other types of addiction, gaming disorder affects a person's ability to function in everyday life.

According to the World Health Organization draft, the classification applies if the symptoms listed manifest over a period of at least 12 months in order for a proper diagnosis assignment. By adding "gaming disorder" to the list, the WHO can make the health condition an official diagnoses that can be used in health-care matters, according to CNN.

Marriage and family therapist Paula-Jo Husack told CBS San Francisco that gaming disorder is not only serious, but an "epidemic".

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The addition of this this condition would mean that Gaming Disorder could be diagnosed by a physician or recognized by insurance providers.

For others, however, the lure of video games can become an issue, hindering other aspects of their life and leading to addictive behaviors similar to those with an addiction to gambling.

Basically, you play a lot of videogames.

The WHO entry does not include any information about prevention or treatment of gaming disorder, unfortunately. Also, video games can "improve hand-eye coordination and reaction time". That said, "Internet Gaming Disorder" was also proposed for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013, but was ultimately slated for further study because of a lack of evidence supporting its inclusion.

The World Health Organization plans to include Gaming Disorder in its latest publication of The International Classification of Diseases.

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