WHO to classify Gaming Addiction as a mental health disorder

The World Health Organisation will classify gaming addiction as a mental health condition. This is coming in the eleventh International Classification of Diseases.

The guide suggests that it takes a period of 12 months to assign a diagnosis. However, if the symptoms are severe a psychiatrist can diagnose the disorder earlier. The ICD gives a set of symptoms for gaming disorder. These symptoms will include:

  • impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity, duration)
  • increased priority given to gaming
  • continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences

Several countries already recognise addiction to gaming as a disorder. There are gaming addiction rehabilitation centres around the world. The ICD will give a standard definition of the disorder. Many technology addiction specialists consider gaming addiction a disorder when it begins to interfere with basic activities like sleep and socialising.

In addition, many countries are already fighting gaming disorders. In South Korea, it’s now illegal for children under the age of 16 to play games between midnight and 6 a.m. Tencent, a Chinese company, puts limits on the time children can spend playing popular games. And in Japan, internet game providers alert gamers when they spend a certain amount of time gaming.

The news triggered gamers, who turned to social media to vent their concerns. Some believe most gamers will be classified as having the disorder. Others are concerned this will overshadow treatment of other conditions that may be leading to the gaming addictions in the first place.

A recent study revealed that playing first-person shooter games can reduce the amount of grey matter within the hippocampus. According to the study, different games have different effects on the brain. In that case, gaming disorder really is a medical condition that is worth looking into.

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