Gaming disorder could soon be a mental health condition, according to WHO

People game in the Nintendo exhibit on opening day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center

Starting in 2018, playing video games excessively may be recognized as a "gaming disorder", a mental illness characterized by a lack of control over one's gaming habits.

Business Insider released an article saying "gaming disorders" could be classified as a mental health condition.

According to the marketing group NPD, video game console spending in the U.S.is up 27 percent from previous year, up to $1.9 billion.

"Gaming is highly addictive", said ESET security specialist Mark James, "and it is no wonder so many respondents from our study admit to playing them for so long".

Standard treatment for technology-associated addictive behaviour, he said, involves quantifying gaming patterns, assessing dysfunctions and motivating patients to initially change lifestyles to reduce gaming durations. Whether video gaming is a mental disorder or not is still a major debate, particularly if the amount of time a person plays daily is a factor. A beta draft of the WHO's 11th ICD includes a gaming disorder entry, which is described as an addiction to video games both online and offline.

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However, the American Psychological Association counters this view, finding it to be controversial and perhaps too early to say. "In light of continuing controversies, it is argued that the now proposed categories of video game addiction disorders are premature". Declaring that the proposal had "fundamental issues" like poor research quality and a lack of consensus, the paper warned that a rushed decision could have bad consequences. According to Forbes, "video games can be a safe way of improving hand-eye coordination, enhancing problem-solving abilities, relieving stress, connecting people, and living out fantasies".

Do you devote a significant portion of your life to video games?

But hey, here's the good part... we think?

Researchers are still trying to understand the activity's risks and effects, since it has only recently become such a common pastime - 63% of United States households contain at least one "frequent gamer", a trait that didn't exist a couple of generations ago.

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