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World Health Organization to classify video game addiction as mental illness

Gaming disorder to be named a mental health condition for the first time

In the past, video game addiction has led to some pretty extreme outcomes, including one death in 2005 when a man played StarCraft for more than two days straight with barely any breaks. It's only if the behavior is severe enough "to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning", according to the draft.

Specifically, the draft's language states that gaming behavior could be a disorder if it meets three characteristics: if a person loses control over their gaming habits, if they start to prioritize gaming over many other interests or activities, and if they continue playing despite clear negative consequences.

A draft of the latest version of the manual, called ICD-11, posted online lists gaming disorder among "disorders due to addictive behaviours".

Gaming Disorder will be added to the official list of diseases by WHO.

- Some of you may have had video games under your Christmas tree, but be careful.

World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said that game disorder is not limited to time spent in front of screens.

BINGING on video games will be classified as signs of a mental disorder for the first time next year. At that time, people spent 6.3 hours per week playing video games.

The WHO charactised a gaming disorder as a "pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" both on or offline. And a Canadian study found that playing Super Mario or other three-dimensional video games may help in preventing dementia.

"Sometimes you get those gamers where it's a whole different life for them", adds Matt Lucero, a gamer and co-owner of Retro Gaming and Collectibles. Noting that while gambling and gaming disorder are "close relatives", Rae says that the people who come to her facility have difficulty getting good treatment alongside alcoholics or drug addicts.

The UT student makes a social event out of his hobby choosing games that allow for his friends to join in. That apparently holds true for video games, according to the World Health Organization.