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WHO officially deems ‘gaming disorder’ an illness

WHO officially deems ‘gaming disorder’ an illness

By Derrick C. Parker

Scioto Voice Writer


The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially added gaming disorder to the list of modern diseases.

Last June, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) added gaming addiction under its section of potentially harmful technology related behaviors, which also includes too much use of the internet, computers, smartphones, and more.

The ICD has listed gaming disorder under disorders due to addictive behavior. It is described as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior, which may be online or offline, manifested by impaired control over gaming, increased priority given to gaming to the extant that gaming takes prescendence over other life interests and daily activities, and continuation of escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

The WHO has now followed the ICD. According to WHO expert on mental health and substance abuse, Shekhar Saxena, the worse cases of gaming disorder include people playing for 20 hours a day while forgoing sleep, meals, work, and school.

But these individuals make up on a very small minority of those who play video games, according to industry lobbyists. The Video Game Coalition responded to the World Health Organization’s announcement by saying their products are “enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide.” They also said video games have recreational, educational, and also therapeutic value.

Warning signs for gaming disorder are relatively easy to spot and are not unlike other addictive behavior. If you believe your child exhibits symptoms such as missing schoolwork, hiding online activity, and losing sleep, try to intervene. Don’t be afraid to talk to them or even reach out to a mental health expert.

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