WHO Classifies Gaming as a Mental, Addictive Disorder

WHO Classifies Gaming as a Mental, Addictive Disorder

World Health Organisation (WHO) said classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will help governments, families and health care workers be more vigilant and prepared to identify the risks.

The disorder affects no more than 3 percent of gamers, the Associated Press reported, with some estimates as low as one percent.

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 a year ago, it includes the addition of gaming to its section of addictive disorders.

One of the biggest changes moves all of its transgender-specific categories into a new section on sexual health conditions, removing them as a mental disorder.

Homosexuality was removed from the ICD in 1992 with the publication of the ICD-10.

Director of WHO's Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Shekhar Saxena, describes some of the warning signs of addictive Gaming behavior. It's their mode of escapism, they don't want to read a book, they don't want to watch TV, they don't want to go the movies - they want to play video games. The games industry, though, disagrees. The present version also has for the first time a chapter on traditional systems of medicine. These games are commonly played on electronic and video devices.

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The new catalogue, which still needs to be approved by United Nations member countries, so-called "gender incongruence" is now listed under "conditions related to sexual health", instead of "mental, behavioural and neurodevelopmental disorders". The World Health Organization says classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will "serve a public health objective for countries to be better prepared to identify this issue".

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.

The World Health Organization says gaming disorder is a disease characterized by impaired control over gaming, with increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities. Currently, gambling disorder is the only officially recognized behavioral addiction in the USA, unlike in China and South Korea, which have rolled out treatment programs for gaming disorder.

The other notable addition was a diagnosis of gaming disorder, which is new to ICD-11.

It should be noted, that this is not a figure that comes from the WHO's report and classification of gaming disorder, rather the World Health Organization does not specify a certain amount of time required to be diagnosed.

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