Excess Gaming Could Be Considered a Mental Health Issue under New Guidelines

29 December, 2017, 01:16 | Author: Colin Gill
  • Gaming Disorder is an official mental condition according to the WHO

Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) is classifying gaming addiction as a mental disorder.

Originally founded in 1948, the World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, aims to "build a better, healthier future" with their involvement in global public health across the globe.

Last year, dozens of psychologists, including Ferguson, penned a grave article in response to the WHO's proposal to list gaming disorder.

Putting that category of activities on the list would give doctors and mental health professionals a way to officially diagnose someone with the condition. Codifying gaming addiction as a tried and true disorder could risk "stigmatising millions of players and may divert limited mental health resources from core psychiatric problems such as depression or anxiety which might be at the heart of problematic play", he said over e-mail. "However, in certain circumstances overuse can lead to adverse effects", Poznyak was quoted as saying by the Independent. First, the current approaches to understanding "gaming addiction" are rooted in substance abuse research and approaches do not necessarily translate to media consumption.

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The lead director of the study, Dr. Andrew Przybylski, said that the study provided evidence of "the potential new problem of 'internet gaming disorder'".

For someone to be classified as having the disorder, they must also continue to game despite negative consequences, it adds. According to CBS, Husack "says the designation is long overdue and that addiction to video games is a hidden but widespread problem".

"The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent". In other words, obsessively playing video games can be addicting as gamers get wrapped up in alternate realities. It includes symptoms that manifest outside of gaming as well.

This does not mean that gaming disorder is a done deal: The caveats note that the draft is not final, is updated on a daily basis, and is not yet approved by WHO. It does not yet mention treatment options or prevention methods.

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