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ESA encourages World Health Organization to reconsider 'Gaming Disorder' classification

Gaming addiction listed as mental health disorder by WHO

"The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive". Recently, the gaming industry weighed in on the controversy and not surprisingly, denied the classification.

As Cinemablend notes, the decision by the World Health Organization to label gaming as a disorder is being taken seriously by those in the community for fear that it would lead to further stigmatization.

As the ICD-11 is still a beta draft, the page explicitly mentions in its caveats that the draft is neither final nor is it "approved by WHO".

The World Health Organization is recognizing gaming as a mental health disorder that can lead to problems down the road as adults. By adding "gaming disorder" to the ICD, the WHO makes this health condition an official diagnosis that can be used by health care workers, including doctors. An entry on gaming disorder could further compound long-held negative imagery that gamers have faced since the birth of arcades.

A national study by an Iowa State professor found that the more children play video games, the more likely they are to develop "gaming addiction" as well as depression.

Other researchers and specialists have described why they believe gaming should not be classified as a separate disorder. This would be "a good thing", he said.Gentile has studied gaming disorder since 1999 and "at that time I was trying to show that it wasn't a problem", he said. When it comes to addictions, the DSM doesn't ask how much you do something, such as drinking alcohol."It's about doing it in a way that damages your life", said Gentile. Gentile recommends no more than one hour of screen time - meaning video games, TV, tablets and phones - for elementary school-aged kids and no more than two hours of screen time for secondary school-aged kids. The numbers cited in the best of studies say that about 1% - or less - of individuals who are gamers "have anything that looks like this type of disorder", he said, and even that's unclear.

Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, spoke about why gaming disorder should be recognised: "Health professionals need to recognise that gaming disorder may have serious health consequences". All of the aforementioned could be applied to a number of compulsive behaviours.