Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Medicine | By Debra Reynolds

'Gaming Disorder' classified as a mental health health disorder

'Gaming Disorder' classified as a mental health health disorder

However, the formal decision to recognise the overuse of games as a mental health condition has been depicted as an overreaction.

Doctors now recognise persistent and compulsive gaming behaviour as a mental health disorder. "Increased frequency and intensity" of gaming has been cited as a predominant attribute of the disorder.

According to the organization, the disorder is characterized by an impaired ability to control one's gaming habits, to the extent that it begins to negatively impact their daily activities and supersedes their other interests.

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Psychiatrist Richard Graham, who led the launch of the UK's first technology addiction service specifically for young people at Nightingale Hospital, London, said there was an important difference between enthusiastic gameplay and the new disorder.

Addictive behavior around gaming can be treated with conselling or psychotherapy, including 12 step prgrams.

It also deems a player's continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences (i.e. lack of sleep) as a significant impairment. Echoing his view, Dr Sharma said gaming addiction is not different from other psychological issues born out of societal changes. The NHS (National Health Service) will treat people who have become "addicted" to video games after being declared a Mental Health problem. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and learning ways to live with computers responsibly.

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"A key principle in this revision was to simplify the coding structure and electronic tooling - this will allow health care professionals to more easily and completely record conditions", says Dr. Robert Jakob, team leader, Classifications Terminologies and Standards, WHO. In its latest revision to a disease classification manual called the International Classification of Diseases, or I.C.D., the United Nations health agency explains the change and why it has (finally) removed the transgender mental disorder classification. It has been included for the first time alongside another addictive disorder: Hoarding.

It added that the "educational, therapeutic, and recreational value" of games was well-founded and widely recognised and urged the World Health Organization to reconsider.

He concluded: "We have not crossed all our "ts" and dotted all our "is" with regard to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of gaming addictions".

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