Excessive gaming is now a mental health disorder

Excessive gaming is now a mental health disorder

The DSM-5 calls out "Internet Gaming Disorder" but says it's a condition that warrants more clinical research and experience before it can be classified in the book as a formal disorder. Revisions in inclusions of sexual health conditions are sometimes made when medical evidence does not back up cultural assumptions.

Many parents already have concerns, but some may now have a new argument for limiting their children's "screen time" - addiction to video games has been recognised by World Health Organisation as a mental health disorder.

Benjamin Wong, a counselor at Mindful Digitality based in Vancouver, British Columbia, joins KRON4 News to discuss.

For patients to qualify for the disorder, playing video games must cause a person "significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning". There's still disagreement whether gaming disorders exist at all, but rehab facilities and treatment programs specifically for video game addiction are slowly cropping up around the United States. Gaming disorder can lead to disturbed sleep patterns, diet problems and deficiency in physical activities.

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"ICD is a cornerstone of health information and ICD-11 will deliver an up-to-date view of the patterns of disease", said Lubna Alansari, WHO's Assistant Director-General (Health Metrics and Measurement).

"Gaming disorder" has three main characteristics.

Others welcomed the move, saying it was critical to identify video game addicts quickly because they are usually teenagers or young adults who do not seek help themselves.

It is indeed. Around the world, you're talking about roughly 2.5 billion people who are playing video games and digital and mobile games. If your child gets sucked into a game for a few days, but goes back to normal after that, they wouldn't qualify: Instead, people must engage in this behavior for at least 12 months, World Health Organization says.

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The World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases (ICD) publication, now in version ICD-11 and first known as the International List of Causes of Death when it was adopted back in 1893, is created to make cross-border statistical reporting and treatment easier by ensuring that everyone is using the same terms with the same definitions.

The first telltale sign is "gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery", says Poznyak.

"We now have a better understanding of the issues surrounding this condition, and they are not related to a mental health condition", a WHO official said.

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