Sunday, 21 July, 2019

'Gaming Disorder' Recognised as an Illness by World Health Organisation

Diagnosis will be easier says the health organisation Diagnosis will be easier says the health organisation
Anna Jefferson | 30 May, 2019, 05:56

It has also recommended professionals in this field to rule out mood disorders before diagnosing a burnout so as to have more targeted prevention and treatment plans for it in place.

Due to take effect in January 2022, the latest edition considers excessive gaming as an "addictive behavior disorder". Turns out, burnout is now officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an "occupational phenomenon".

The definition says gaming disorder is characterized by a 'pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior ("digital gaming" or "video-gaming"), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline'. Finally, people can continue to dive into the games or even increase their attention to them, despite the emergence of various negative consequences.

For diagnosis, says the World Health Organization, the behaviour must be "of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning".

During research, experts found that some of the most critical examples of gaming addiction included individuals who played video games for up to 20 hours a day and didn't eat or sleep, as well as engage in normal activities like school or work, noted Shekhar Saxena, director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the WHO. Typically, a patient must have shown symptoms for at least one year to be diagnosed. The ESA, in conjunction with several other national video game industry associations, put forth a statement urging the World Health Organization to reverse the controversial decision.

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While the ESA calls WHO an "esteemed organization", the gaming body argues that there is not "sufficiently robust evidence to justify inclusion [of gaming addiction] in one of the WHO's most important norm-setting tools".

"Risk of abuse of a formalized new disorder that exclusively involves the behavior of playing video games-a stigmatized entertainment activity-can only expand the false-positive issues in psychiatry", the paper explains.

"People who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities - particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities - as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behaviour", said the WHO.

Gaming and depression may be interlinked in a way and therefore it is hard to distinguish them.

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