Gaming disorder now a disease according to WHO

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According to the World Health Organization, the gaming behaviour and related features have to be observed in an individual over a period of 12 months for an official diagnosis to be considered.

Among these new classifications is official recognition for "gaming addiction" which covers an unhealthy obsession with playing video games.

Effectively, it's only a problem if it's severely and negatively affecting your life - if you're neglecting responsibilities to play videogames, for example.

Gaming Disorder, as recognized by the World Health Organization, should be present over a 12 month period and when an individual plays video games to the extent that it significantly impairs "personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning".

Separately, the WHO listed "hazardous gaming", which is when a pattern of gaming "appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to this individual or others around this individual". For a diagnosis to be made, the negative effects of too much gaming must continue for at least a year.

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.

Dr. Mark Griffiths, who has been researching the concept of video gaming disorder for 30 years, said the new classification would help legitimize the problem and strengthen treatment strategies.

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Saxena said approximately two to three percent of gamers are likely affected by this condition and said many parents should make sure to consistently observe the habits of their children.

In South Korea and the United States, clinics have sprung up to treat video game addiction, along with community and online support groups.

"Disorders due to addictive behaviours are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviours other than the use of dependence-producing substances", writes the WHO.

"The people with gender identity disorder should be not categorized as a mental disorder because in many cases, in many countries it can be stigmatizing, and it can actually decrease their chances of seeking help because of legal provisions in many countries", said Saxena. In a way it's similar to the DSM, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Homosexuality was removed from the ICD in 1992 with the publication of the ICD-10. The present version also has for the first time a chapter on traditional systems of medicine.

The ICD is the basis for identification of health trends and statistics globally and the worldwide standard for reporting diseases and health conditions.

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