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WHO Classifies Gaming Addiction As New Mental Disorder

WHO Classifies Gaming Addiction As New Mental Disorder

In its upcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared gaming addiction as a new mental health condition. The last version of the ICD was published in 1992. There has since been a debate over the years as to whether video game addiction should be classified as a mental disorder or not. The ICD, while still in draft mode, is set to be published in May.

What Is Gaming Addiction?

The WHO defines “gaming disorder” as a pattern of persistent gaming behaviour that has “significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.” Common symptoms of “gaming disorder” include:

  • Loss of control over gaming habits (i.e.: frequency and duration)
  • Increased priority for gaming
  • Increased fatigue, migraines and eye strain
  • Severe mood swings when unable to play games
  • Decreasing academic performance
  • Isolation from friends and family

Gaming Addiction Is A Global Issue

Although there has been a debate over the years as to whether or not video game addiction should be classified as a mental disorder, many countries are now on board with the WHO. The UK, for instance, has started opening private addiction clinics to specifically treat gaming addiction. Asian countries like South Korea, Japan and China are also tackling the issue. In South Korea, the government now bans children under 15 to play online games between midnight and 6:00AM. In Japan, video players receive a notification if they spend over a certain amount of time every month.

What To Do About Game Addiction

If you or someone you know is addicted to video games, it’s important to establish boundaries as early as possible. Setting a limited amount of time per day can help prevent gaming addiction. It’s been found that playing video games for over three hours a day can have a negative effect on one’s social life. Contact us today at toll-free 1-800-832-1259, or fill out the form on our main page. We’re here to help you.

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