World Health Organization considers 'Gaming Disorder' a unique mental health condition

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jun 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-18 17:43:21-04

If you’re not sure if your child’s overzealous love for video games is a hobby or a potentially dangerous addiction, you may now have help from the World Health Organization.  

WHO has officially declared “Gaming Disorders” as a mental health condition and has defined this disorder in their disease classification manual.

This is huge because WHO’s disease manual is the international standard for defining and reporting diseases and health conditions that exist globally.  

WHO defines Gaming Disorder as a person who “has impaired control, gives priority to games over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”  

Basically, this is someone who plays games so much that it starts to negatively affect areas of their life like work, relationships, schooling, even self-care.  

The reason might be due to a neurological response that brings pleasure and reward, similar to how a drug addict’s brain would respond to a certain substance. 

I get how parents can be concerned as many kids can’t seem to get enough of gaming.  But studies suggest that only a small amount of those who play digital or video-gaming activities will be affected – that’s roughly no more than 3 percent of all gamers according to experts.  

And to be diagnosed with this disorder, the behavior pattern must be severe and have been noticeable for at least 12 months. That’s a long time to wait when you see someone who appears to be addicted.  

I recommend that at least for parents, to talk with your kids and decide how much gaming they can do.

Also make sure they’re getting homework done along with an hour of daily physical activity that’s recommended by the CDC.  

And if you’re worried about a gaming disorder, watch for changes in their psychological and social aspects of life - and whether they prefer to stick to game playing over other activities they’d normally do.

WHO classified this gaming disorder so that health professionals will be more aware and prepared to deal with this condition. And therefore more people in the long run, will get the appropriate help they need.