Video Game Addiction Receives Official Recognition From WHO

Video Game Addiction Receives Official Recognition From WHO

Take a peek at ICD-11's entry on "gambling disorder" and you'll find nearly identical language; In other words, video game addiction has become so notable that it's worth including in a global medical reference document, as the World Health Organization stated in its introduction to ICD-11.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has tagged compulsive video gaming as a mental health condition in its updated global classification of diseases (ICD) manual, released on Monday.

It seems that the issue of gaming and addiction is indeed serious because starting today, addiction of digital and video games have been classified as a mental disorder.

It certainly looks like the disorder is being described by people who are not entirely familiar with video games. At the same time, there's been a push and growing interest in things such as e-sports at universities and The Olympics - and grade schools have been looking at video games as a way to teach science, technology, engineering, and math. 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.

An estimated 60 percent of Americans play games every day and the average age of players is 34-years-old.

World Health Organization said this situation is severe enough to result in "significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning".

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The latest catalogue also includes new chapters on video gaming and recognises gaming disorder as a pathological condition, considered addictive in the same way as cocaine. It also forms basis for the worldwide standard for reporting diseases and health conditions.

"It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives", WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as the ICD was published.

It is up to individual countries to decide whether to take the ICD's changes into account when drafting their own disease classifications.

The ICD, which has been updated over the past 10 years, covers 55,000 injuries, diseases and causes of death.

"Gender incongruence, meanwhile, has also been moved out of mental disorders in the ICD, into sexual health conditions", the report says.

The new ICD-11 is set to be presented to the World Health Assembly for adoption by the member states in the month of May 2019 and is scheduled to come in effect on January 1, 2022.

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