WHO to Recognize Gaming Disorder as Mental Health Condition

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WHO to Recognize Gaming Disorder as Mental Health Condition

In 2018, playing video games obsessively might lead to a diagnosis of a mental health disorder, a report from CNN states.

In the beta draft of its forthcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization includes “gaming disorder” in its list of mental health conditions. The WHO defines the disorder as a “persistent or recurrent” behavior pattern of “sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”
The disorder is characterized by “impaired control” with increasing priority given to gaming and “escalation,” despite “negative consequences.”

Chris Ferguson, a professor of psychology at Stetson University in Florida whose research interests include video games and other media violence effects, described the ICD as “the book of real diseases that you can get insurance payments for.”

“People who have treatment centers for video game addiction or a gaming disorder will now be able to get reimbursed,” said Ferguson. “In the past, they have not. It will be a financial boon for those centers.”

The WHO’s ICD lists both mental and physical disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, or DSM-5 is the most recent manual produced by the American Psychiatric Association, and includes only mental disorders.

According to Ferguson, the DSM has entered “Internet Gaming Disorder” as a proposed category, “which means it’s not an official diagnosis yet but they’re interested and they want people to do research.”

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