KeepHealthCare.ORG – Excessive gaming is now a mental health disorder
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Playing video games too often is now characterized as a mental health disorder, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The organization announced “gaming disorder” as a new mental health condition in the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases, which is set to be released Monday.
It is classified as a “pattern of gaming, either online or offline that appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to the individual or to others around this individual.”
It is manifested by:
Impaired control over gaming;
Increased priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests; and
Continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences.
It is listed under the “Mental, behavioural or neurodevelopmental disorders” category and the “Disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors” subcategory.
According to WHO, health concerns associated with gaming behavior include insufficient physical activity, unhealthy diet, problems with eyesight or hearing, musculoskeletal problems, sleep deprivation, aggressive behavior, depression and psychosocial functioning.
The behavior is usually evident over a period of at least 12 months for the diagnosis to be assigned, although it may be a shorter period if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.
Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. Those who partake in gaming should be aware of time spent on gaming activity when it excludes other daily activities.
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