The World Health Organization on Monday classified "gaming disorder" as a mental health condition.
condition described as ‘gaming disorder’ will be added to the 11th
edition of WHO’s International Classification of Diseases.
U.N. health agency said classifying "gaming disorder" as a separate
addiction will help governments, families and healthcare workers be more
vigilant and prepared to identify the risks. But the agency and other
experts were quick to note that cases of the condition are still very
rare, with no more than up to 3 percent of all gamers believed to be
Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO's department for
mental health and substance abuse, said the agency accepted the proposal
that gaming disorder should be listed as a new problem based on
scientific evidence, in addition to "the need and the demand for
treatment in many parts of the world."
Dr. Joan Harvey, a
spokeswoman for the British Psychological Society, warned that the new
designation might cause unnecessary concern among parents.
need to understand this doesn't mean every child who spends hours in
their room playing games is an addict, otherwise medics are going to be
flooded with requests for help," she said.
Others welcomed WHO's
new classification, saying it was critical to identify people hooked on
video games quickly because they are usually teenagers or young adults
who don't seek help themselves.
"We come across parents who are
distraught, not only because they're seeing their child drop out of
school, but because they're seeing an entire family structure fall
apart," said Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokeswoman for behavioral
addictions at Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists. She was not
connected to WHO's decision.
Bowden-Jones said gaming addictions
were usually best treated with psychological therapies but that some
medicines might also work.
The American Psychiatric Association
has not yet deemed gaming disorder to be a new mental health problem. In
a 2013 statement, the association said it's "a condition warranting
more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for
inclusion" in its own diagnostic manual.
Dr. Mark Griffiths, who
has been researching the concept of video gaming disorder for 30 years,
said the new classification would help legitimize the problem and
strengthen treatment strategies.
"Video gaming is like a
non-financial kind of gambling from a psychological point of view," said
Griffiths, a distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at
Nottingham Trent University. "Gamblers use money as a way of keeping
score whereas gamers use points."
He guessed that the percentage
of video game players with a compulsive problem was likely to be
extremely small—much less than 1 percent—and that many such people would
likely have other underlying problems, like depression, bipolar
disorder or autism.
Griffiths said playing video games, for the
vast majority of people, is more about entertainment and novelty, citing
the overwhelming popularity of games like "Pokemon Go."
"You have these short, obsessive bursts and yes, people are playing a lot, but it's not an addiction," he said.
Source: Medical Xpress.
World Health Organization says video game addiction is a mental disorder
Tuesday 19 June 2018