No one even thought that gaming would be a mental disorder until today. Although, the mental health experts have been warning us about the harmful effects of prolonged gaming, this is the first time that it is being recognized by an international body. The World Health Organization classified gaming as an addiction in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 11. The ICD is released annually by WHO which is used internationally as a ‘standard diagnostic tool for health management and clinical purposes.’ Gaming has been deemed considered a mental health disorder based on a few characteristics. According to WHO, this addiction is however different from regular gaming. The gaming addiction involves some extreme symptoms, like:
- Very little control over when and how often to play
- Giving importance to games over other activities like school or work
- Continuous gaming schedules even after facing negative consequences
The draft document describes the addiction as persistent gaming behavior, which is so severe that it can take “precedence over other life interests.” According to the organization, the gaming behavior should be observed in the individual over a course of 12 months to consider an official diagnosis.
Reports say, Dr. Richard Graham, lead technology addiction specialist at the Nightingale Hospital in London has welcomed the decision of the WHO. He said he sees about 50 cases of digital addiction every year and his criteria is basically based on whether the activity is affecting the basic things of an individual such as sleeping, eating, education, and socializing.
Although a lot of individuals are not really happy with this decision, it is official and a few countries have already started taking measures to help the individuals who are almost in the path of addiction.