The World Health Organization is seriously thinking about classifying the so-called gaming disorder as a mental health issue. The update will feature in next year’s edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
When asked by CBS how bad the problem is, therapist Paula-Jo Husack who is specialized in family therapy replied that the problem has morphed into an epidemic. She added that WHO’s move is long overdue since addiction to playing video games is widespread even though it has remained hidden.
A person is affected by gaming disorder if he or she is so addicted to video gaming that the habit leads to “significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning,” the WHO wrote in the new update.
Husack and other experts underscored that there are clear symptoms a child, teen, or adult is affected by the disorder. Some of the symptoms include empathy loss, sensory perception loss, appetite loss, and social isolation.
The Symptoms of Gaming Disorder
According to the WHO, those common symptoms should last for at least one year to have a full-fledged diagnosis. However, if these symptoms start getting more persistent and severe, a doctor could diagnose the mental disease issue much sooner.
Some gamers agree that taking things too an extreme is a bad thing, just like abusing alcohol or losing your fortune to gambling or casinos. Just about anything could be taken to an extreme, one gamer noted.
However, many gamers argue that video gaming is a form of relaxing and even a way of making some money as professional gamers can play in tournaments and earn real cash and make a living out of it.
WHO’s decision to include video games in the 2018 ICD is not final though. The disorder has not been included in the latest update of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a guide to psychiatric diseases for professionals.
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