World Health Organization ‘gaming disorder’ classification opens door for treatment

Keller @ Large: It’s Time We Take Control Of Video Games

Gaming addiction is a term which has been used a lot by parents as well as mental health experts who actually believe that it is a mental disorder.

A draft of its 11 International Classification of Diseases, including the 'gaming disorder, ' was released by the World Health Organization a few months ago.

Finally, after years of speculation and concern, we may start to get some scientific answers now that the World Health Organization has chose to classify gaming disorder as an addiction, comparable to compulsive gambling or substance abuse.

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Dr. Hilarie Cash is a psychologist and co-founder of reSTART, a residential facility for adults and adolescents addicted to the internet and video gaming.

And perhaps the most positive immediate fallout from this will come from folks who needed a wake up call about the seriousness of not just gaming, but other forms of online addiction.

World Health Organization defines the disorder as "a pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences". The others are "impaired control of these behaviors", wherein "even when the negative consequences occur, this behavior continues or escalates", and impairment of everyday functions and activities, including "disturbed sleep patterns", "diet problems", and a "deficiency in physical activity". "The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe". However, even after getting formally adopted, the ICD-11 will not be effective until January 1, 2022.

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