Parents might now have a new argument to told on their children about gaming or playing video games for long, as addiction to video games is now recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) as a mental health disorder.
The WHO’s latest reference bible of recognized and diagnosable diseases or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) version 11, which has been updated over the past 10 years and now covers 55,000 injuries, diseases and causes of death, describes addiction to digital and video gaming as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior” that becomes so extensive that it “takes precedence over other life interests”.
“It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement as the ICD was published.
Based on the ICD, gaming disorder was defined with symptoms spanning for at least 12 months, which include impaired functioning in other aspects and a lack of control towards this behavior. As it is, the list of symptoms sounds remarkably similar to most addictions today. If you don’t want to be diagnosed, splurging yourself on video games for a couple of days won’t prevent it.
While the gaming industry is now emerging to an another level, the WHO assures gamers that only a minority pervades the disorder, although some gamers are already worrying that it might tarnish the industry even more, considering its scale.
Some physicians showed their concerns, as this inclusion might enable formation of more strange conditions in the future, and insist that research should be done before the inclusion. However, WHO states that the inclusion will increase awareness and research for gaming addiction.
The updated ICD is scheduled to be presented to WHO member states at their annual World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption in January 2022.