Video gaming addiction is now a mental disorder, says WHO

Video gaming-123RF

Video gaming-123RF- File

The U.S. video game industry - through its Entertainment Software Association lobbying group - threw its support behind several academics who opposed the WHO's efforts when it confirmed previous year that they would include "gaming disorder" as a condition. The ICD is used by medical practitioners around the world to diagnose conditions and by researchers to categorise conditions.

Continuing the same damaging gaming behavior despite negative consequences such as deterioration of personal, family, social, educational, occupational interactions and responsibilities. Homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder in 1948, but was removed from the ICD in the 1970s.

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'.

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You can watch and listen to more about the organization's classification in the video below.

Despite what is - admittedly - a pretty even-handed handling of the situation, gaming organisations from around the world have expressed concern at the its inclusion.

The American Psychiatric Association has not yet deemed gaming disorder to be a new mental health problem.

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About gaming disorder, the World Health Organization says it affects only a "small proportion of people", and that the characteristics denoting the condition must be present in someone for at least 12 months before it can be officially diagnosed as a disorder. The ICD provides data on the causes of thousands of diseases, injuries and deaths across the globe and information on prevention and treatment.

"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". Of course, gaming industry spokespeople aren't happy about this draft, which if passed, would come into effect in May 2019. "It's a little bit premature to label this as a diagnosis", Bean said.

While some objected to the move, others welcomed the move, saying it was critical to identify video game addicts quickly because they are usually teenagers or young adults who don't seek help themselves.

. Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist, tells CNN that in his experience, those addicted to gaming are using it more as a coping mechanism for either anxiety or depression.

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Someone playing "Minecraft" is going to be completely different from someone playing "World of Warcraft", he said: "They're two vastly different genres".

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