Parents may think their children are addicted to video games. now The World Health Organization has declared it a new mental health condition.
The WHO announcedlast year that it was going to include the disorder in the latest edition.
Dr. Vladimir Poznyak said the group is not setting a precedent, but instead followed “the trends, the developments, which have taken place in populations and the professional field.”
Poznyak is a member of the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, the group that proposed the diagnosis to the World Health Assembly.
According to the WHO, the disorder “affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities.” But it also warns people to be aware of how much time they spend gaming, especially at the cost of other activities. They also want gamers to be aware of changes to their physical or psychological health and social functioning.
Being diagnosed with a gaming addiction is not new. The United Kingdom actually has private clinics that treat it, the BBC reported.
There are also clinics in the United States, such as reSTART, CNN reported.
Hilarie Cash is the co-founder of reSTART, said she is surprised that it has taken as long as it has to include gaming disorder in the ICD.
“I’ve been surprised it’s taken so long for everybody to catch up to the fact. But I also understand that they need to have strong, researched-based evidence before they bring on a new disorder,” Cash told CNN.
But not all agree that an official diagnosis is needed.
Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist, said it is early to officially name the condition.
“It’s a little bit premature to label this as a diagnosis,” Bean told CNN. “I’m a clinician and a researcher, so I see people who play video games and believe themselves to be on the lines of addicted.”
Bean said games are a coping mechanism for anxiety or depression and that the criteria used to determine gaming disorder are too broad and subjective.