Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

The World Health Organisation lists gaming addiction as a mental disorder

The World Health Organisation lists gaming addiction as a mental disorder

"We understand that our industry and supporters around the world will continue raising their voices in opposition to this move and urge the WHO to avoid taking steps that would have unjustified implications for national health systems across the world".

The term is "gaming disorder" and signs include placing gaming as a priority over other things, deteriorating personal relationships with family and friends and sometimes even sleep disorders. Recategorizing transgender as a sexual health condition is aimed at cutting stigma and improving quality of care, says the WHO.

The world health organization (WHO) has included in the new, 11th version of the worldwide classification of diseases (ICD-11) gambling.

Psychiatrist Richard Graham, who led the launch of the UK's first technology addiction service specifically for young people at Nightingale Hospital, London, said there was an important difference between enthusiastic gameplay and the new disorder.

In the previous World Health Organization classification, gender identity disorders, such as transsexualism were listed under mental and behavioral conditions.

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Children will have NHS access to treatment for video game addiction following the World Health Organisation's ruling that it is a mental health disorder. And it warned that people who enjoy video games should be alert to the amount of time they spend at their hobby, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health. In a way it's similar to the DSM, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

"They're prioritising their gaming above pretty much everything else in their life". The research supporting inclusion is highly contested and inconclusive. While mental health practitioners are one key audience, the document is also instrumental among health insurers, who use its classifications to decide on reimbursement and more. Researchers across the world use it as reference for data, whereas doctors and other medical practitioners use it to diagnose disease and other conditions.

The new ICD-11 also reflects progress in medicine and advances in scientific understanding.

Gaming disorder rubs shoulders with conditions such as gambling disorder, substance abuse, and addictive hoarding in the ICD.

The WHO only removed homosexuality from its ICD classification with the publication of ICD-10 in 1992.

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