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Gaming addiction is a mental disorder: World Health Organisation
June 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

Addiction to digital and video gaming has been classified as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The agency described the addiction as a "pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" that becomes so extensive it "takes precedence over other life interests".

The classification is aimed at alerting health professionals and systems to the existence of this condition and ensuring that people suffering from these conditions can get appropriate help. 'Gaming disorder' has three main characteristics. One, that the gaming behaviour takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are pushed to the periphery. If the condition leads to significant distress and impairment in personal, familial, social, educational or occupational functioning.

Gaming disorder can lead to disturbed sleep patterns, diet problems and deficiency in physical activities. Psychiatrists are emphasising the need for a digital detox as a cure. Dr Sameer Malhotra, director- mental health and behavioural sciences at Max Healthcare says increasing screen time is leading to lack of human interaction, low emotional connection between children and adults because each one hooked on to the virtual worlds. "Families have stopped bonding leading to isolated adolescents. Alertness is also poor because of over exposure to harmful radiation from screen exposure."

Not only gaming , but even Facebook over usage and Instagram over usage, must be classified as a mental disorder. The 11th edition of ICD covers 55,000 injuries, diseases and causes of death. Researchers across the world use it as reference for data, whereas doctors and other medical practitioners use it to diagnose disease and other conditions. The ICD is also used by health insurers in some countries to claim reimbursements based on ICD coding. Besides, the classification is used by national health programme managers; data collection specialists; and others. The new ICD-11 also reflects a progress in medicine and advances in scientific understanding.



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