WHO's ICD-11 released: Gaming addiction classified as a mental health condition

WHO's ICD-11 released: Gaming addiction classified as a mental health condition

"Experts worldwide are urging caution regarding the World Health Organization's proposed "gaming disorder" as it may lead to misdiagnosis of real mental health conditions", The Entertainment Software Association, which represents many gaming companies, argued in a statement today.

But sometimes such gaming can get out of control, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday deeming "gaming disorder" an official mental health condition.

Video game addiction will soon become a diagnosable metal health condition, at least in the eyes of leading global health officials.

Maybe more consumers will push back against video game makers who design their products to be addictive with the same sort of uproar we've seen about tobacco and opioids.

World Health Organization officials say statistics, mainly from East and South Asian countries, show only a very small two to three percent of people are addicted to Gaming.

Hazardous gaming refers to a pattern of gaming, either online or offline that appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to the individual or to others around this individual.

'We come across parents who are distraught, not only because they're seeing their child drop out of school, but because they're seeing an entire family structure fall apart, ' said Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokesman for behavioural addictions at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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As video games such as Fortnite have become a ubiquitous social phenomenon for teenagers, there's growing concern in the medical community about video game addiction.

To be diagnosed with gaming disorder, a person's behavior must significantly impact other important aspects of their life, such as their relationships or their ability to hold down a job.

ICD-11 also includes changes to sexual health classifications.

Those who disagree with the WHO's categorisation of excessive gaming as an addictive disorder are, therefore, expected to appeal against its inclusion. Currently, gambling disorder is the only officially recognized behavioral addiction in the USA, unlike in China and South Korea, which have rolled out treatment programs for gaming disorder. The latest edition also has a new chapter on traditional medicine.

The ICD is the basis for identification of health trends and statistics globally and the global standard for reporting diseases and health conditions.

The ICD-11 isn't yet finished, though: The publication won't be endorsed as a final release until 2019, and won't be fully adopted until 2022.

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