Game addiction may become an official mental-health diagnosis in 2018


The World Health Organization (WHO) is closer to formally recognizing videogame addiction.

"The WHO move reflects growing awareness about this disorder - among health professionals, parents and teachers", said Manoj Sharma, associate professor of clinical psychology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans), Bangalore.

In fact, World Health Organization will include "gaming disorder" in its global classification of diseases for 2018.

A draft of the latest version of the manual, called ICD-11, posted online lists gaming disorder among "disorders due to addictive behaviours". It will be the newest update since 1990.

A 2009 study found that about 8 percent of Americans from 8 to 18 years old exhibited pathological video game use, Forbes reported. Rather, it posits that when a gamer loses the ability to control when and how they play games, or if someone is constantly prioritizing video games "over other interests in life and keeps playing despite negative consequences", then it may be somewhat more than a hobby.

This isn't a particularly new realization, as there have been rehab centers for gaming addiction founded in the past.

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"I don't think people should always just jump to the conclusion because someone likes to play video games", Jones says.

Some studies suggest that the same brain circuits involved in drug addiction may also be activated when individuals are engrossed in Internet gaming.

Although it's rare, gamers have died during marathon gaming sessions, according to the Washington Post. Noting that while gambling and gaming disorder are "close relatives", Rae says that the people who come to her facility have difficulty getting good treatment alongside alcoholics or drug addicts. Public health experts also use the ICD to track the number of deaths and diseases.

"It's hard for the two groups of people to understand what each other is going through", she said. They have experience in breaking this habit.

Scientists need to "establish a clear-cut distinction between someone who may use games excessively but non-problematically and someone who is experiencing significant impairment in their daily lives as a effect of their excessive gaming", a group of researchers from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom wrote in a paper published last summer in the Journal of Addictive Behavior.