‘Gaming Disorder’ declared a disease by World Health Organizatio - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

‘Gaming Disorder’ declared a disease by World Health Organization

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The World Health Organization has declared excessive gaming as a disease. (File) The World Health Organization has declared excessive gaming as a disease. (File)

Parents: In addition to the talk about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse that you’ll have with your children, you may need to add video gaming to that same list.  The World Health Organization declared excessive gaming as a disease and now put a little more clarity around the symptoms and side effects.  They include: 

  • Gaming frequency and intensity that severely minimizes other activities and human interactions
  • Despite knowing the negative consequences of excessive gaming, the gamer can’t stop
  • Disturbed sleep pattern, unhealthy diet, and reduction in physical activity 

The WHO makes clear that for a diagnosis, a person’s behavior displaying the signs and symptoms would need to last at least a year.  "In the world of technology, if you apply the simple criteria of addiction, withdrawal symptoms, tolerance, negative consequences over time, some of the real standards, they apply to kids, teens, adults who are compulsively or involved in overuse of technology,” said Christopher Mulligan, clinical director at Cyber Addiction Center. 

Some of the leaders in the gaming industry quickly created a joint statement that expressed disapproval of the WHO’s decision. "Video games across all kinds of genres, devices, and platforms are enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, with the educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games being well-founded and widely recognized,” it said. 

The designation of Gaming Disorder would fall under mental health and take on some of the same treatment and coping skills for those who seek help for drugs, alcohol and gambling addiction.  The WHO must submit a final document in 2019 stating whether it intends to follow through with the designation.  That will happen after public debate and meetings to discuss with the gaming industry. 

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