Are your kids addicted to video games? Beware, their behaviour might soon be classified as a mental health condition by the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to reports. For the first time, WHO is thinking of adding gaming disorder to its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the New Scientist reported earlier last week.Previous studies have shown that gaming can make your brain more efficient.
The ICD — a diagnostic manual that’s published by the WHO — was last updated 27 years ago, in 1990. The 11th edition of the manual is due in 2018, and will include gaming disorder as a serious health condition to be monitored. In the draft of the 11th version released by WHO, gaming disorder is described as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (digital gaming or video-gaming), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline”.
The draft currently lists a variety of behaviours that clinicians could use to determine if a person’s gaming has become a serious health condition. According to this draft, someone has gaming disorder if they have impaired control over gaming, in terms of frequency, intensity, duration and termination.
These people give increasing priority to gaming “to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests”, and that they will continue gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. Further, in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, the behaviour of addiction to games should be evident over a period of at least 12 months.
“Health professionals need to recognise that gaming disorder may have serious health consequences,” Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, was quoted as saying to the Independent. “Most people who play video games don’t have a disorder, just like most people who drink alcohol don’t have a disorder either. However, in certain circumstances overuse can lead to adverse effects,” Poznyak added.
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