Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Video Game Addiction Receives Official Recognition From WHO

Video Game Addiction Receives Official Recognition From WHO

"The intention is to reduce barriers to care", says Geoffrey Reed, a psychologist who is coordinating the mental health and behavior disorders section in the new edition of the I.C.D. The disorder is characterized by an "impaired control over gaming", an "increasing priority given to gaming over other activities", and "the continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences".

The third feature is when the behavior impacts in other areas of someone's life, which can include "disturbed sleep patterns, like diet problems, like a deficiency in the physical activity".

"We believe that understanding this population and the nature and severity of the problems they experience should be a focus area for future research", reads the abstract of a paper titled 'A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: Let us err on the side of caution.' "However, moving from research construct to formal disorder requires a much stronger evidence base than we now have".

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"What we're talking about - and what the World Health Organisation is talking about - is the people who can no longer stop, no longer control their use". Who stay up, play too much, don't look after themselves, they're willing to throw away friendships over video games.

Psychiatrist Richard Graham, who led the launch of the UK's first technology addiction service specifically for young people at Nightingale Hospital, London, said there was an important difference between enthusiastic gameplay and the new disorder.

Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist and executive director at the non-profit health clinic The Telos Project, told CNN that labeling gaming disorder as a diagnosable condition was "premature".

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You might recall our previous report in late 2017 about the World Health Organization adding gaming addiction in the draft for the revised International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Among the concerns of skeptics is the possibility that, by explicitly codifying gaming addiction, it could end up heaping further stigma on video games in general. "It is concerning to see the "gaming disorder" proposal in this draft despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community". Gaming disorder was considered for inclusion based on scientific evidence and the recommendations of experts around the world. "The burden of evidence and the clinical utility should be extremely high because there is a genuine risk of abuse of diagnoses".

The ICD-11 doesn't come into effect until January 1, 2022, with today's release being "an advanced preview" to give countries the chance to prepare for its changes. Although traditional medicine is used by millions of people worldwide, it never before has been classified by World Health Organization in this system.

A new chapter also has been added on traditional medicine.

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