Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

What is gaming disorder? Do you need to worry?

What is gaming disorder? Do you need to worry?

Yesterday, the World Health Organization announced that it had finalized its 11th International Classification of Diseases, and much like the draft did in December of previous year, it includes the addition of gaming to its section of addictive disorders.

"It should be a clearly defined behavioral pattern which is of such intensity and such nature that it takes precedence of other activities that have been important for the individual in the past", Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse said.

Researchers across the world use it as reference for data, whereas doctors and other medical practitioners use it to diagnose disease and other conditions.

- Video games are sparking controversy this week after the World Health Organization classified compulsive video game playing as a mental health disorder. It is characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority to gaming over other activities including daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences.

The WHO estimates just 2 to 3 percent of gamers would be affected. Among these new classifications is official recognition for "gaming addiction" which covers an unhealthy obsession with playing video games.

The WHO's definition is not meant to imply that any one sort of gaming is addictive or to say that a specific amount of it leads to a disorder.

"If (video games) are interfering with the expected functions of the person - whether it is studies, whether it's socialization, whether it's work - then you need to be cautious and perhaps seek help", he said.

Additionally, WHO lists both online and offline gaming as a disorder, but the former can be an enriching experience as users can forge friendships and even romantic relationships through multiplayer games.

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The ICD is also used by health insurers, whose reimbursements depend on its classifications.

"Nonetheless, gaming disorder can be very harmful and not something people can easily get over on their own, but with the right treatment they can".

"My nephew gets stuck on it, and he does it all night long", one person said about their relative's video game habits.

Douglas Gentile, a psychology professor from the Iowa State University, has compared the classification of the condition to the decision in the 1950's to recognize alcoholism as a medical condition, instead of a personal failing.

Gaming disorders usually are linked to a system of rewards or incentives, such as accumulating points in competition with others or winning money. It's also when that gamer also can not control their behavior.

In the previous World Health Organization classification, gender identity disorders, such as transsexualism were listed under mental and behavioral conditions.

Roughly how many hours a week do you play games?

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