The World Health Organization will soon classify gaming disorder as a legitimate mental health condition for the very first time.
The eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases, a manual published by WHO, will be released sometime in 2018, and among the included health conditions is gaming disorder. The last update to this manual was 27 years ago in 1990.
What Is A Gaming Disorder?
Exactly how WHO describes gaming disorder remains to be revealed. However, as the New Scientist reports, the draft provides criteria needed in order to determine whether someone has a gaming disorder.
Vladimir Poznyak, a member of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO, noted how important it is to recognize the disorder as a legitimate issue, saying that health professionals should take the potential effects and impact of gaming disorder seriously.
"Most people who play video games don't have a disorder, just like most people who drink alcohol don't have a disorder either," he said. "However, in certain circumstances overuse can lead to adverse effects."
Gaming Disorder: What Are The Signs?
According to the current draft, a person is considered to have a gaming disorder if they make gaming a priority to the extent that the activity takes precedence over other life interests and if they continue to engage in this activity despite obvious risks to one's mental health, primarily sleep and sustenance deprivation.
Poznyak said WHO has been contemplating whether to legitimize gaming disorder for the best part of the decade. Now, after consultations with mental health experts, it seems WHO has determined that it is in fact a disorder. However, gaming is the only one added to the roster, with other forms of addiction evidently missing. When asked why, Poznyak said:
"There is simply a lack of evidence that these are real disorders."
Some will definitely debate whether gaming could be real hazard to one's mental health, but there's certainly something to be said for people who spend a staggering amount of time playing video games, most especially those who engage in "speedruns," which is an activity where people try to finish or complete a game as fast as possible to beat previous records.
Researchers from ESET, a security company, polled 500 gamers in 2016 and found that 10 percent of them admitted to playing video games between 12 and 24 hours.
"Gaming is highly addictive, and it is no wonder so many respondents from our study admit to playing them for so long," said ESET security expert Mark James.
Do you think you might have a gaming disorder? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!