World Health Organization considers 'Gaming Disorder' a unique mental health condition

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The World Health Organization says compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition, in a move that some critics warn may risk stigmatizing young players.

Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO's department for mental health and substance abuse, said the agency accepted the proposal that gaming disorder should be listed as a new problem based on scientific evidence, in addition to "the need and the demand for treatment in many parts of the world".

Due to be published today, the WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will now include "Gaming Disorder".

It is scheduled to be presented to WHO member states at their annual World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption in January 2022, the WHO said. One, that the gaming behaviour takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are pushed to the periphery.

In extreme cases, gamers unable to pry themselves away from a screen drop out of school, lose jobs, and become cut off from family and non-gaming friends.

Symptomatic behaviour must continue for at least a year before it is considered dangerously unhealthy, according to the new classification.

"We are not saying that all gaming is pathological". Although that may sound intense, so was her video game addiction.

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Almost 40 percent of those sales are in east Asia, especially China and South Korea.

The move means that people will now be able to receive treatment for their addictions to video games and that the NHS in the United Kingdom will be able to provide treatment to children addicted to games free of charge. In fact, she urinated on herself while sitting down playing the game.

"The WHO process lacks transparency, is deeply flawed, and lacks scientific support", Michael Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, said in a statement in March. It urges the World Health Organization to reconsider before officially placing it in the final version of the medical classification document.

"And let me emphasise that this is a clinical condition, and clinical diagnosis can be made only by health professionals which are properly trained to do that", he noted.

"It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives", WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

The ICD forms a basis for the WHO and other experts to see and respond to trends in health, and is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on the classifications.

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