Under the new guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO), excess gaming could be labeled a mental health condition. The WHO wants to insert the new classification into the updated version of its diagnosis manual International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The manual was last updated in 1990.
The revised version of the manual is slated to appear in 2018 and is expected to classify addiction to video games as a separate condition called ‘gaming disorder’. The move is a response to a long debate over whether video gaming can be addictive.
WHO experts believe gaming can be a serious mental health issue which should be closely monitored. Doctors are advised to look for telltale signs like social isolation, appetite loss, antisocial behavior and withdrawal symptoms.
A spokesperson for the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse warned that the soon-to-be recognized mental health condition could have serious consequences. Gaming disorder in some instances can lead to adverse effects.
However, the disorder does not affect all gamers just like casually drinking alcohol doesn’t mean that you are an alcoholic.
Excess Gaming as Dangerous as Internet Addiction
In 2016, a group of Oxford researchers wanted to know how addictive gaming can be. The analysis, which appeared in the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that around 3 percent of people playing video game turn their hobby into an addiction. Addiction is at play when the gamer has five or more symptoms of Internet addiction as outlined by the American Psychiatric Association like:
- social isolation
- antisocial behavior
- sleeping disorder etc
The Oxford study concluded that Internet use can lead to addiction and can have a negative impact on a person’s health, private and social life.
The WHO decision was hailed by many experts as they know video games can be addictive, yet the issue has been rarely discussed.
Image Source: MaxPixel