World Health Organization to classify excessive video gaming as mental disorder

Jan 03, 2018, 02:26
World Health Organization to classify excessive video gaming as mental disorder

"This was a very poorly thought out decision [by the WHO]", Chris Ferguson, a psychology professor at Stetson University in Florida who has studied how video games impact society, told Gizmodo. You could have a mental disorder.

"The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive".

Psychologists have been debating in recent years whether or not to classify excessive gaming as a distinct mental disease, and the World Health Organization (WHO) appears to be leaning toward recognizing "gaming disorder" as a real thing. Kenyan doctors could soon be diagnosing the condition in a country boasting of a growing youthful population with a rapidly advancing digital culture that includes mobile phone gaming.

The WHO further defines each condition within the document: Sufferers of gaming disorder are described as lacking control over how often or how much they play games to the point that such behavior "takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities", and continues or escalates "despite despite the occurrence of negative consequences".

People suffering from the so-called "gaming disorder" run the risk of "significant impairment" to their personal, family, social, education, and occupational lives, according to the WHO. The gaming pattern can also be episodic, recurrent, or continuous depending on the duration an individual spends playing video games.

Proponents of classifying video game addiction as a disorder say that it's not so different from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Yet, as time goes on, it's becoming increasingly clear that games do have the ability to hook people more so than other forms of entertainment.

On the other side, a group of researchers led by Nottingham Trent University's Mark Griffiths recently noted that even critics of a clinical listing for gaming disorder note that "some gamers do experience serious problems as a outcome of the time spent playing video games".

The WHO's clinical description does not include prevention or treatment options.

But others have argued that the WHO's classification is scientifically unsound.

Many psychiatrists refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the fifth edition of which was published in 2013. In contrast to DSM, ICD lists both mental and physical disorders.

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