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WHO classifies 'gaming disorder' as mental health condition

llien

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Watching as a video game ensnares their child, many a parent has grumbled about "digital heroin," likening the flashing images to one of the world's most addictive substances.
Now, they may have backup: The World Health Organization announced "gaming disorder" as a new mental health condition included in the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases, released Monday.
"I'm not creating a precedent," said Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, which proposed the new diagnosis to WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly. Instead, he said, WHO has followed "the trends, the developments, which have taken place in populations and in the professional field."
However, not all psychologists agree that gaming disorder is worthy of inclusion in the International Classification of Diseases, known as the ICD

Characteristics of gaming disorder
A diagnosis standard, the ICD defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions. Researchers use it to count deaths, diseases, injuries and symptoms, and doctors and other medical practitioners use it to diagnose disease and other conditions. In many cases, health care companies and insurers use the ICD as a basis for reimbursement.

Overall, the main characteristics are "very similar" to the diagnostic features of substance use disorders and gambling disorder, he said. Gambling disorder "is another category of clinical conditions which are not associated with a psychoactive substance use but at the same time being considered as addictive as addictions."
For a diagnosis to be made, the negative pattern of behavior must last at least 12 months: "It cannot be just an episode of few hours or few days," Poznyak said. However, exceptions can be made when the other criteria are met and symptoms are severe enough.

"Millions of gamers around the world, even when it comes to the intense gaming, would never qualify as people suffering from gaming disorder," Poznyak said, adding that the overall prevalence of this condition is "very low."
"And let me emphasize that this is a clinical condition, and clinical diagnosis can be made only by health professionals which are properly trained to do that," he said.

'It's a little bit premature'
Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist and executive director at The Telos Project, a nonprofit mental health clinic in Fort Worth, Texas, counts himself as a member of the camp that opposes inclusion of gaming disorder in the ICD.
"It's a little bit premature to label this as a diagnosis," Bean said. "I'm a clinician and a researcher, so I see people who play video games and believe themselves to be on the lines of addicted." In his experience, they're actually using gaming "more as a coping mechanism for either anxiety or depression."
Forthcoming research shows that gaming is a secondary diagnosis in coping with a primary diagnosis of anxiety and depression, Bean said: "When anxiety and depression is dealt with, the gaming goes down significantly."
The criteria being used by WHO to define gaming disorder in the ICD are "too broad," he said, while the mild, moderate or severe versions of the disorder have not been adequately delineated. Diagnosing a patient with gaming disorder, then, would be based on the "very subjective experience of clinicians," he said.
"And even most clinicians would probably agree that they don't understand the concept for video games because they're not immersed in that world or experience," he added.
Ultimately, Bean is not saying gaming disorder doesn't exist, he just thinks "it's not really a good idea to go forward with this [diagnosis]. ... It really opens the door for anything to be a sickness."


CNN
 

Arun1910

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I agree. There was a story about a girl peeing herself then hitting off at her dad because she didn't want to get off Fortnite. People have died doing gaming marathons. Games are great for down time, its how I relax sometimes after work, but like anything, too much of a good thing can have consequences.
 

Lanrutcon

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I don't think likening substance abuse disorders to playing too much Fortnite is a great idea.
 
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Psykodad

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I agree. There was a story about a girl peeing herself then hitting off at her dad because she didn't want to get off Fortnite. People have died doing gaming marathons. Games are great for down time, its how I relax sometimes after work, but like anything, too much of a good thing can have consequences.
Very isolated cases with people who most likely already had mental issues to begin with.
 

Arun1910

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Very isolated cases with people who most likely already had mental issues to begin with.

Thing is, you can't be sure, even you said most likely. Addiction is real, gaming can be addictive. Loot boxes are addictive as its a form of gambling, theres a sense of reward. You could classify any addiction as a mental health issue if you really wanted.
 
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I have never met anyone who's addicted to games. I play games for at least 2 hours every day, but I'll happily go out and do other things as well. When I'm with friends, it's not like I'm sitting there thinking "Oh man I could be playing a game now." People aren't addicted to books, movies or music either, right? It's just something you do to pass the time and to entertain yourself.

It does seem a bit premature, but hey, I'm no expert. Maybe it does happen on a very small scale.
 

VertigoOA

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Plenty of people have addictions to gaming.

I have a handful of childhood buddies in their 30s still without a career but will play games along fucking day. They’re losers
 

klosos

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Wait so , if I play video games and people criticise me I can say stop oppressing me I have a mental health issue ? if so that's great ill become a oppressed class , now all I need to do is make up a pretend gender and am all set for this modern world
 

VertigoOA

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I’s think high school anime dramas with pedophile friendly art direction is a whole other kind of fucked up
 

Petrae

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I’m fine with this. Diagnosing said disorder, by definition, is far from automatic... and it’s certainly possible for people to lose themselves in video gaming for days/weeks/years at a time, with little or no social interaction. It’s a potential diagnosis— and I leave it to professionals to determine.

That said, the overly defensive reaction by video game fans is disappointing, to say the very least. So much whataboutism in play (What about Netflix? What about anime? What about TV?). It’s not going to stigmatize video gaming... at least, not more than the activity already is. It’s shitty that mainstream media is blowing this out of proportion, which isn’t helping.

For those who want to know more about the condition, including arguments for and against its inclusion into the ICD-11, I recommend taking a few minutes to read this: http://platinumparagon.info/psychology-of-gaming-disorder/
 

Breakage

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I'm not sure about this trend of classifying every kind of undesirable behaviour as a mental disorder. I just think by doing so it absolves the individual of any responsibility. Now people addicted to games can say " I have a disorder so you can't criticise my habits" ie it is not my fault I am like this.
 

Petrae

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I'm not sure about this trend of classifying every kind of undesirable behaviour as a mental disorder. I just think by doing so it absolves the individual of any responsibility. Now people addicted to games can say " I have a disorder so you can't criticise my habits" ie it is not my fault I am like this.

That’s a pretty big supposition to make, given the standards for diagnosis. If done right, a very low number of people will be classified as having this disorder. Parents everywhere can assume that their kids have it, and create lengthy lines for intake, but it’s assuredly not going to be the primary conclusion.
 

Northeastmonk

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I was in a relatively small town many years ago in nursing school and all I heard about was the lack of mental health support in that part of the state (Western Nebraska). Regardless of their comments, this disorder will get misdiagnosed. There's too many ego's in the medical field. And that's great if it actually benefits someone else.
 
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The Scrivener

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https://www.theguardian.com/games/2...tion-world-health-organization-disorder-games

I love how the comments section is completely ignoring the article and joking about taking time off work to play upcoming games.

I dunno if games can be addictive in the traditional sense, or even like modern day pornography addiction. I think they are a healthy pursuit, just like books. My fav games this year have all been quite short, deep experiences that have made me think, and I wish I could have spent more time on them and beat them in less sittings (i.e. In one day instead of over a whole week, see Tacoma, Firewatch, Life is Strange).

I wish I was addicted to games instead of all the other shit I waste my time on.
 

goldenpp72

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Anything can become a disorder, seems weird to corner gaming here, these people would likely get addicted to something no matter what. Address that, not the hobby they chose.
 

BANGS

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I saw some article yesterday about how dangerous video game addiction was and pointed to a kid who claims to game 20 hours a week... I laughed like only 20 hours a week? That's like, normal kid gamer hours, that's not something over the top to be worried about. 5 hours each on saturday and sunday, 2 hours per weekday is 20 hours. Is this really what they're concerned about? I used to make those numbers look pathetic when I was in high school(if I had to guess it was more like 40 a week), and yet here I am living a normal life with 2 jobs a wife and a kid and I'm lucky if I can get in 20 hours a month. I'm not ruining my life for gaming despite it being my most passionate hobby.

I feel like so much of this is just people not understanding gaming and judging those that do...
 

Psykodad

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Think is, you can't be sure, even you said most likely. Addiction is real, gaming can be addictive. Loot boxes are addictive as its a form of gambling, theres a sense of reward. You could classify any addiction as a mental health issue if you really wanted.
Working-out can also be addiciting, same goes for work.

"Gaming-addicition" where it actually truly affects your everyday life is extremely isolated.
The reason I said "most likely" is because I don't have concrete evidence to support my claim, but I'd like to see some data from WHO where they can show us the percentage of people who truly suffer from gaming addiction.
It's not even gonna be 1% of the gaming-community in it's entire spectrum. Hell, I bet it isn't even close to 0.1%

This is nothing but some old-gen bookworms thinking they made some progress regarding some fabricated issue.

Edit:

Took the time to actually read the entire OP. That psychologist that opposes WHO's decision is right. He actually sees it the same way as I do and so should every other rational person.
 
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SLoWMoTIoN

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I saw some article yesterday about how dangerous video game addiction was and pointed to a kid who claims to game 20 hours a week... I laughed like only 20 hours a week? That's like, normal kid gamer hours, that's not something over the top to be worried about. 5 hours each on saturday and sunday, 2 hours per weekday is 20 hours. Is this really what they're concerned about? I used to make those numbers look pathetic when I was in high school(if I had to guess it was more like 40 a week), and yet here I am living a normal life with 2 jobs a wife and a kid and I'm lucky if I can get in 20 hours a month. I'm not ruining my life for gaming despite it being my most passionate hobby.

I feel like so much of this is just people not understanding gaming and judging those that do...
Non gamers watch tv/youtube for like 5 hours a day like its any better.
 
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So long as we're keeping a healthy perspective on things.

 

lukilladog

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Do substance addicts also get fed up of it and look for other things to do and be happy?.
 
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Gander

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One this is and was always a political to shakedown on the gaming industry for money. Two gaming is too broad a label, some games that make you think actually teach you problem solving skills. Third addiction is addiction, if you're binge watching Netflix everyday and neglecting your life is that Netflix fault?
 

Northeastmonk

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One this is and was always a political to shakedown on the gaming industry for money. Two gaming is too broad a label, some games that make you think actually teach you problem solving skills. Third addiction is addiction, if you're binge watching Netflix everyday and neglecting your life is that Netflix fault?

Yeah, include all those health care students binge watching Grey's Anatomy (all 15+ seasons).

I wonder about Game Designers. Imagine a game designer getting asked the question, "How often do you play video games?". Sure, some people cannot manage their life for their own benefit. But do some people get a pass because they get paid for it? Did they have WHO officials take a tour of a video game studio and interview those who work years of their lives on these games? Listening to a kid and his 20 hours is a joke. Take the controller away after the first hour, unplug the console, or ground the kid from using the TV.

I have taken days off school and work for a game. I don't do this a lot, but I have. I took a day off work to play God of War. I didn't suffer any consequences from it because I had PTO. I was able to do all that and manage it once I got older.
 

NickFire

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I don't think likening substance abuse disorders to playing too much Fortnite is a great idea.
If I am being honest, as a parent I do not understand how we haven't recognized addiction to gaming as a disorder for years. Doesn't mean games are inherently bad. Just means we need to be careful with how much we let kids play.
 

Danjin44

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I could be very wrong about this but the addiction mostly comes from online gaming rather than single player games.
 

BANGS

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If I am being honest, as a parent I do not understand how we haven't recognized addiction to gaming as a disorder for years. Doesn't mean games are inherently bad. Just means we need to be careful with how much we let kids play.
As said above, gaming addiction is really a symptom of more serious problems. Letting your kids play for 10 hours a day isn't gonna hurt them unless they have some real serious underlying issues...
 

jadedm17

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I don't think likening substance abuse disorders to playing too much Fortnite is a great idea.

South Korea made moves to have the fastest internet, now the result is a lot of spoiled teenagers who go insane and refuse to get jobs so they can game all day. Clinics have started to pop to detox them.

It's not a competition of what's worse - though I agree substance abuse is worse - but addiction can be anything in excess and there are plenty with very real crippling problem. I think this article is on point in saying most arent, but there's a good number that are mentally addicted.

Do substance addicts also get fed up of it and look for other things to do and be happy?.

My buddy smashes keyboards during online games... If your Hobby angers you then yes find another.

As for gaming is suggest single player experiences : I'm largely a shooter fan but Mario, Ori, this week Hollowknight, before that God of War and Tomb Raider.... Not having to deal with others helps frustration.
 
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Hinedorf

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It's called moderation and self control. It's not a disorder, it's common sense. People who die or can't function in life because video games are important are going to get what they deserve in life.

This disorder sounds more like bad parenting than a problem with video games, anything can be obsessed upon too much including wanting your children to do the opposite of what they want to do with their free time.

I have no problem respecting people with mental health issues, but everything about this article is seriously lacking in facts for a legit diagnosis.
 

DryvBy

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My response to this is the same as when "violent video games make you violent" was the bandwagon: who cares if someone thinks your hobby is stupid and you're mental for it? I spend 60+ hours a week gaming usually. But I have zero problem breaking away from it. What WHO seems like they're saying is the person that can't get their life under control and forgets to eat (hey, we've all done that in time warp games at least), or quits their job, or just can't pull themselves away. Those people have obvious mental illnesses. This stuff seems to be more about addiction than games.

Yes, some people are idiots and ruin their lives playing games. But those people lack discipline and control.
 
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I really don't see why it needed to be give its own classification.

Video games qualify under basic addiction just like folks addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, Barbie dolls, collecting urine and all of the slew of other things that folks get addicted to. WHAT you get addicted to is somewhat irrelevant as it's all the same disease of addiction and they almost all fit into the same mold. You can get addicted to video games in the same way you can get addicted to compulsively clipping your toenails. It's all the same thing. No distinction needed.
 

Gray Rentable

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the label will be applied to extreme cases. I also agree that heavy gaming is a symptom of other problems and a coping mechanism for some.

though you can bet the farm that idiots will abuse this label and make the underlying mental illness worse.
 

Shift!

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Well it looks like I can't anticipate any medication or proper therapy since I have most of the symptoms, and it will take some time before my area has a bunch of tools necessary to deal with those suffering on a reasonable scale.
 

Arun1910

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Working-out can also be addiciting, same goes for work.

"Gaming-addicition" where it actually truly affects your everyday life is extremely isolated.
The reason I said "most likely" is because I don't have concrete evidence to support my claim, but I'd like to see some data from WHO where they can show us the percentage of people who truly suffer from gaming addiction.
It's not even gonna be 1% of the gaming-community in it's entire spectrum. Hell, I bet it isn't even close to 0.1%

This is nothing but some old-gen bookworms thinking they made some progress regarding some fabricated issue.

Edit:

Took the time to actually read the entire OP. That psychologist that opposes WHO's decision is right. He actually sees it the same way as I do and so should every other rational person.

Even if its a minority, it still means it happens. Its like side effects on any drug, they don't happen often, but they still CAN happen, so they are listed as a side effect still. Gaming Addiction CAN happen, just like addition to anything, drugs, alcohol, sex. Anything that releases serotonin due to pleasure from a certain thing can cause addiction because why wouldn't you want that rush?

Besides, even if gaming addiction is listed as a "real" thing, it doesn't affect the 99.9% of people who aren't, but could help the few that are.

It's like rare diseases, do you classify them as not diseases just because they aren't super common? If a disease only occurs in a small percentage of people, do you dismiss that it is a disease because it isn't wide spread?
 

nkarafo

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Thing is, you can't be sure, even you said most likely. Addiction is real, gaming can be addictive. Loot boxes are addictive as its a form of gambling, theres a sense of reward. You could classify any addiction as a mental health issue if you really wanted.
Loot boxes are just plain gambling. They didn't have anything to do with videogames until recently.
 

Psykodad

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Even if its a minority, it still means it happens. Its like side effects on any drug, they don't happen often, but they still CAN happen, so they are listed as a side effect still. Gaming Addiction CAN happen, just like addition to anything, drugs, alcohol, sex. Anything that releases serotonin due to pleasure from a certain thing can cause addiction because why wouldn't you want that rush?

Besides, even if gaming addiction is listed as a "real" thing, it doesn't affect the 99.9% of people who aren't, but could help the few that are.

It's like rare diseases, do you classify them as not diseases just because they aren't super common? If a disease only occurs in a small percentage of people, do you dismiss that it is a disease because it isn't wide spread?
Then there is still the question of whether it is an actual addiction, or if there are underlying issues that need to be addressed rather than gaming-habits.
 

Arun1910

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Then there is still the question of whether it is an actual addiction, or if there are underlying issues that need to be addressed rather than gaming-habits.

The underlying issue for any addiction is that you get pleasure from the certain thing. Anything can trigger that. Sugar, Sex, Violence.

Addiction cannot be addressed full on, but the triggers can.
 

goldenpp72

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I saw some article yesterday about how dangerous video game addiction was and pointed to a kid who claims to game 20 hours a week... I laughed like only 20 hours a week? That's like, normal kid gamer hours, that's not something over the top to be worried about. 5 hours each on saturday and sunday, 2 hours per weekday is 20 hours. Is this really what they're concerned about? I used to make those numbers look pathetic when I was in high school(if I had to guess it was more like 40 a week), and yet here I am living a normal life with 2 jobs a wife and a kid and I'm lucky if I can get in 20 hours a month. I'm not ruining my life for gaming despite it being my most passionate hobby.

I feel like so much of this is just people not understanding gaming and judging those that do...

I have 200 hours in hyrule warriors since it came out and hold down a full time job and took a week long vacation since. 20 hours a week isn't that high for an addiction threshold for sure. I'm sure watching TV for 20 hours a week is not concerning behavior to those people.
 
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