On Monday, the World Health Organization announced its eleventh International Classification of Diseases, placing "Video Game Disorder" in the same category as 'Gambling Disorder'. It is concerning to see the "gaming disorder" proposal in this draft despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community.
"A decision on inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 is based on reviews of available evidence and reflects a consensus of experts from different disciplines and geographical regions that were involved in the process of technical consultations undertaken by World Health Organization in the process of ICD-11 development". The U.S. video game industry - through its Entertainment Software Association lobbying group - threw its support behind several academics who opposed the WHO's efforts when it confirmed past year that they would include "gaming disorder" as a condition. The pattern of gaming is often persists in spite of awareness of increased risk of harm to the individual or to others. The DSM-5 calls out "Internet Gaming Disorder" but says it's a condition that warrants more clinical research and experience before it can be classified in the book as a formal disorder. Cases similar to hers, where people place essential body functions such as eating and using the bathroom lower on their survival list than playing video games, are not rare.
Last week, the Mirror UK reported that a 9-year old girl was sent to rehab for video game addiction.
The manual defines gaming disorder as "characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior", and puts emphasis on online game play.
"Video games across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms are enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, with the educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games being well-founded and widely recognised", the statement reads.
The ICD identifies about 55,000 separate injuries, diseases, conditions and causes of death, and is widely used as a benchmark for diagnoses and health insurance. Welcoming WHO's decision, he said it would bring more acceptance even among the victims that they have a disease and help is available.
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