Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Video game addiction is now officially recognised as an illness

Compulsive video-game playing now new mental health problem Gaming disorder recognized by World Health Organization
Johnnie Parks | 19 June, 2018, 19:10

The World Health Organization says video game addiction is a real disease.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorised excessive gaming as an official disorder, adding it to its latest draft of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) - and the games industry is, unsurprisingly, unimpressed.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization added "gaming disorder" to its list of recognised and diagnosable diseases, as part of its 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases.

Dr. Joan Harvey, a spokeswoman for the British Psychological Society, warned that the new designation might cause unnecessary concern among parents.

Last week, the Mirror UK reported that a 9-year old girl was sent to rehab for video game addiction.

The disorder can consist of an impaired control over the frequency, intensity and duration of gaming, increasing priority given to gaming to the point that it takes precedence over other daily activities and commitments, and a continuation or escalation of gaming despite it's negative consequences on other parts of life. "But it's crucial to remember that it affects only a small percentage of gamers", he added.

Last year, a study from almost 30 academics opposed the gaming disorder classification, saying their addiction was best viewed as a coping mechanism associated with underlying problems such as anxiety or depression.

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Addictive behavior around gaming can be treated with conselling or psychotherapy, including 12 step prgrams.

WHO has said gaming disorder is a serious health condition that requires monitoring.

"We come across parents who are distraught, not only because they're seeing their child drop out of school, but because they're seeing an entire family structure fall apart", said Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokeswoman for behavioral addictions at Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists.

"The WHO process lacks transparency, is deeply flawed, and lacks scientific support", Michael Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, said in a statement in March.

The inclusion of "gaming disorder" in WHO's revised catalogue of diseases was met with resistance, both from the industry and experts. "Most play games for more than 10-14 hours a day".

If you're on your PS4 right now playing Fr Cry 5 and if youve just read this alert on your phone then my heart goes out to you. "It could take 6-8 weeks of intense cognitive therapy during which they are taught how to handle the craving for playing games, how to counter discomfort, if not gaming what else they can do", he said.

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