World Health Organization officially recognises ‘gaming disorder’

The joint committee said the local gaming culture and industry faces a serious crisis due to the WHO's decision.

A patient can be diagnosed with gaming disorder if they have trouble controlling the behavior, are only or predominately interested in gaming and continue gaming despite negative consequences.

However, not everyone agrees that "video game addiction" is something that can be diagnosed or treated.

The 194 members of the World Health Organization voted to classify "gaming disorder" as a disease. As Polygon points out, Gaming Disorder is listed right after Gambling Disorder and is nearly a word-for-word copy of the latter, only "gambling" is replaced with "gaming".

In China, a 26-year-old who was addicted to Blizzard's World of Warcraft MMORPG died from heart failure after playing the game for seven days straight.

Some mental health providers have also voiced opposition to the WHO's decision.

"'Gaming disorder' is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify inclusion in one of the WHO's most important norm-setting tools".

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Critics say there hasn't been enough research on the topic to make a definitive conclusion on whether the "gaming disorder" qualifies as a mental health condition.

The World Health Organization is bringing attention to the problem of work-related stress.

Gaming and depression may be interlinked in a way and therefore it is hard to distinguish them.

Following last year's announcement, many gaming organizations came together to oppose this new addition, stating that they are "concerned to see "Gaming Disorder" still contained in the latest version of the WHO's ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community".

When asked to elaborate on the decision, Dr Douglas Gentile, a psychologist and Laboratory Head at the Iowa State University Media Research Lab, told Kotaku that "gaming addiction has always been a problem for some and has been a highly debated and often discussed topic among health officials, gamers, researchers and politicians".

"The WHO is an esteemed organization and its guidance needs to be based on regular, inclusive, and transparent reviews backed by independent experts".

According to Walker the next conversation should be with a medical professional to help confirm a diagnosis and determine how to treat the symptoms.

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