World Health Organization classifies compulsive playing of video games as a mental disorder

Playing video games compulsively now qualifies as new mental health problem

In the organisation's latest version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), gaming disorder has been listed as an addiction.

The disorder can consist of an impaired control over the frequency, intensity and duration of gaming, increasing priority given to gaming to the point that it takes precedence over other daily activities and commitments, and a continuation or escalation of gaming despite it's negative consequences on other parts of life.

Screen time isn't recommended at all for kids who are 18 months or younger, but for children who are older than that up to five, it's generally recommended that they have not more than one hour of screen time, she says.

The World Health Organization (WHO) just announced Monday that it will no longer be classifying gender incongruence as a mental disorder.

Homosexuality was removed from the ICD in 1992 with the publication of the ICD-10.

It is listed under the "Mental, behavioural or neurodevelopmental disorders" category and the "Disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors" subcategory.

Visitors play video games on June 12, 2018, at a Nintendo of America Inc. booth at E3, a large-scale computer and video game event held in Los Angeles.


Among the other changes to the ICD-11 are a new chapter on traditional medicine, the first time it has been included in the document.

The ICD is an annual publication released by the WHO which is used internationally as a 'standard diagnostic tool for health management and clinical purposes'.

It's hoped the new official classification will encourage gamers to seek help for their addiction and others take their disorder more seriously. "The intention is to reduce barriers to care", says Geoffrey Reed, a psychologist who is coordinating the mental health and behavior disorders section in the new edition of the I.C.D.

Responding to the decision to including gaming addiction, the Video Games Coalition - an industry lobby group - said their products were "enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide" across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms. The World Health Organization declared excessive gaming as a disease and now put a little more clarity around the symptoms and side effects. The research supporting inclusion is highly contested and inconclusive.

The WHO described ICD-11 as a "once in a lifetime event", and noted that the world will likely have to wait a few more years until the updated classification is implemented into healthcare systems around the world.

The inclusion of "gaming disorder" in WHO's revised catalogue of diseases met with resistence, both from industry and some experts.

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