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WHO Announces ‘Gaming Disorder’: New Mental Health Condition

While it is undeniable that most parents believe video games to be addictive, the World Health Organization (WHO) took this to another level recently, by declaring a new mental health condition known as ‘gaming disorder’ within its 11th edition of International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

CNN reported that a member of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Vladimir Poznyak, chimed in on the new mental health condition, stating that they aren’t trying to create a precedent by including this ‘gaming disorder’ in their ICD, merely the organization is following development and current trends. He went on to note that the ‘gaming disorder’ classification means that health systems and professionals will be more aware around the existence of this condition, where individuals who are dealing with can seek out assistance.
The three major symptoms around ‘gaming disorder’ include:

The behavior takes precedence over and individual’s daily activities, where other things are pushed out into the periphery.

Impaired control around the behavior; despite any negative effects of the ‘gaming disorder’ the behavior does not stop, sometimes escalates.

Significant impairment and distress when it comes to family, social, personal, educational, or work functions. This may include sleep issues, diet problems, and inadequate physical activity.
It’s important to note, the negative behaviors around gaming need to occur for a minimum of a year to be diagnosed as a disorder.

Poznyak stated that the ICD does not deal with ‘prescriptions’ as it relates to insurance coverage, as these types of decision are brought forth by national authorities; however, prevention as well as treatment interventions can help victims of this disorder and their friends and family when it comes to suffering around the condition.

Poznyak added that treatments or interventions for this disorder stem from methods and principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. He added that various types of support can be offered, including understanding the condition, as well as support from family and social networks.

Poznyak also stated that WHO hopes that including this ‘gaming disorder’ within their ICD will help create healthy dialogue around international collaboration and additional research around the condition.

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