Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Faith Castro
June 21, 2018

There are those who believe that excessive gaming is a symptom of underlying health mental conditions and not a disorder on its own.

WHO said that by classifying "gaming disorder" on its own, it will help gamers, families, governments, and health care workers to be more aware of gaming disorders.

Smartphone, social media, and even gaming de-addiction facilities have always been set-up at institutions throughout the country, with many parents bringing in their children to be treated for addiction to gadgets.

Last year, a study from almost 30 academics opposed the gaming disorder classification, saying their addiction was best viewed as a coping mechanism associated with underlying problems such as anxiety or depression. It is characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority to gaming over other activities including daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences.

World Health Organization notes that for diagnosis, the behavior pattern has to be of sufficient severity and present negative effects on the individual's life.

As per Richard, a person can play games for hours, and sit in front of the screen for days, without being addictive.

The classification could help to identify those who are hooked on video games, as addicted young gamers often don't seek help for themselves, according to researchers.

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The condition will be added to the WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

World Health Organization recommends that players should "be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities". "And let me emphasise that this is a clinical condition, and clinical diagnosis can be made only by health professionals which are properly trained to do that", he noted.

Additionally, WHO lists both online and offline gaming as a disorder, but the former can be an enriching experience as users can forge friendships and even romantic relationships through multiplayer games.

But the number suffering from this mental health condition is enough to study the behavioral pattern and create a treatment program, the organization says. "But if they keep their grades up (and their) friends and hobbies, then it's not an addiction", Gentile said.

Terry O'Sullivan, of Blennerville NS in Co Kerry, said there had been concerns about children's use of video games and apps.

Joan Harvey explained that the designation of a "gaming disorder" might panic parents in the wrong way.

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