Published: Fri, May 31, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Burnout, gaming disorder deemed medical diagnoses by WHO

Burnout, gaming disorder deemed medical diagnoses by WHO

In 2018, it was decided in similar fashion by the World Health Organization that spending excessive amounts of time playing video games is a mental disorder.

The worldwide body reached the decision to categorize burnout as a medical condition during its recently concluded World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The updated ICD list, dubbed ICD-11, was drafted past year following recommendations from health experts around the world, and was approved on Saturday. One of the authors, Isabela Granic, took to Twitter to reiterate why the disorder "should not be diagnosable".

In addition to "gaming disorder", another entry included is "hazardous gaming" as "factor" that could influence a persons health status.

Studies suggest gaming disorder only affects a small proportion of people, but the World Health Organization advises people to be aware of how much time they spend gaming, particularly as an estimated 65 percent of American adults play video games regularly. According to the description, the disease is characterised by a pattern of persistent or repetitive gaming behaviour (in connection with "digital games" or "video games"), which may appear online (via the Internet) or offline.

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The report claims that when ICD-11 goes into effect, between 2023 and 2025 the domestic game industry will shrink 22.7 percent, overseas sales will decrease 16.9 percent and those working in the relevant fields will diminish 15 percent.

The "gaming disorder" disease will become officially recognized by the World Health Organization on January 1, 2022. Teens who spend more than four hours a day playing video games also have been shown to be more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression. "The consequences of today's action could be far-reaching, unintended, and to the detriment of those in need of genuine help", reads the statement.

Similarly, the Video Games Coalition told NBC News that their products were 'enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, ' adding that video games generate 'educational, therapeutic and recreational value'.

It added that gaming was the right of teenagers, but the World Health Organization decision to officially designate it as a disease gave teenagers a sense of guilt when playing video games. Moreover, it can shift their focus from their daily activities and other life interests.

"We acknowledge that some individuals may overdo gaming just as they may overdo social media, work, or sex, or tan to excess or, indeed, dance".

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