Professor commends decision to classify gaming addiction as mental health disorder

Gamers playing video games in

"Gaming disorder" will be recognised as a disease later this year following expert consensus over the addictive risks associated with playing electronic games, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

Being added into the ICD-11 will mean that gaming disorder will become an official health diagnosis that can be used by doctors, other health care workers, and insurance companies. It still needs to be approved and this is what the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) wants to stop, GamesIndustry.biz reports. Among gaming disorder's official symptoms, according to the World Health Organization, are: "Impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity, duration); increased priority given to gaming; and continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences".

'Just like avid sports fans and consumers of all forms of engaging entertainment, gamers are passionate and dedicated with their time. And, putting that official label on them recklessly trivialises real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community.

"There are people who are asking for help", he added, noting that formal recognition of the condition will help spur further research and resources committed to combatting the problem. "We strongly encourage the World Health Organization to reverse direction on its proposed action". This would be "a good thing", he said.Gentile has studied gaming disorder since 1999 and "at that time I was trying to show that it wasn't a problem", he said.

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In the past, studies have warned that abnormal gaming behaviour could result in mental health issues.

Video game playing, either online or offline, must be "normally evident over a period of at least 12 months" for this diagnosis to be made, according to the beta draft guidance.

As Cinemablend notes, the decision by the World Health Organization to label gaming as a disorder is being taken seriously by those in the community for fear that it would lead to further stigmatization.

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