Gaming disorder now a disease according to WHO

Gaming Addiction Is Now An Official Mental Health Disorder

The World Health Organization on Monday officially recognized "gaming disorder" as a condition in its International Classification of Diseases, saying that it is possible to be addicted to video games.

After much back and forth, however, the term was just granted validity, as the World Health Organization opted to include it in the latest edition of its Internal Classification of Diseases. This means that those diagnosed will be entitled to be treated by the NHS.

Psychiatrist Richard Graham, who led the launch of the UK's first technology addiction service specifically for young people at Nightingale Hospital, London, said there was an important difference between enthusiastic gameplay and the new disorder.

The news, however, has been met with some criticism.

Dr. Joan Harvey, a spokeswoman for the British Psychological Society, said only a minority of gamers would be affected by the disorder and warned that the new designation might cause unnecessary concern among parents.

From playing "Fortnite" in their own homes for hours, to wandering city streets collecting Pokemon on their phones - many people are obsessed with video games.

The ICD is an annual publication released by the WHO which is used internationally as a 'standard diagnostic tool for health management and clinical purposes'. We understand that our industry and supporters around the world will continue raising their voices in opposition to this move and urge the WHO to avoid taking steps that would have unjustified implications for national health systems across the world.

Treatment for gaming disorder is generally based in cognitive behavioral therapy, which would generally be done in two phases, Simon Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. That could stem from time sunk into gaming, or neglecting other priorities, or from risky behaviors associated with it (like, say, forgetting to eat or sleep).

The WHO stressed that only a small number of people who use digital or video games develop gaming disorder.

In South Korea and the United States, clinics have sprung up to treat video game addiction, along with community and online support groups. Cases similar to hers, where people place essential body functions such as eating and using the bathroom lower on their survival list than playing video games, are not rare.

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