Gaming disorder could soon be a mental health condition, according to WHO


To warrant a diagnosis of such a disorder, one shall have "impaired control over gaming" and give "increasing priority to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities" and continue gaming "despite the occurrence of negative outcome", according to the draft. For that to occur, gaming behavior should normally be evident over the course of a year, but that duration can be shortened "if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe". The move is a response to a long debate over whether video gaming can be addictive.

Public opinions and knee-jerk reactions aside, virtually any sort of hobby or fun can become addicting to the right personality. The analysis, which appeared in the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that around 3 percent of people playing video game turn their hobby into an addiction. The World Health Organization is now recognizing excessive gaming as a mental health disorder.

The symptoms of "gaming disorder" are actually not all that different from a more traditional substance abuse disorder, save for the hangovers and physical withdrawals.

This means that health care workers and doctors will be able to diagnose someone with the condition. This raises multiple concerns.

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Gamers compulsively play to the exclusion of other interests and their persistent gaming appears to endanger their academic or job functioning, the APA had said.

The WHO is set to include "gaming disorder" for the first time in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is used by more than 100 countries.

The WHO decision was hailed by many experts as they know video games can be addictive, yet the issue has been rarely discussed. Enjoying gaming regularly is not necessarily an addiction, but the line is being defined by World Health Organization next year.