Gaming addiction 'a mental health disorder'

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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.

Much like gambling addiction, gaming addiction has similar traits with people giving ever-more time to gaming and the pursuit of achievements and awards at the expense of other activities. The games industry, though, disagrees.

Key symptoms include "impaired control" - notably the inability to stop playing - and focusing on the game to the exclusion of everything else.

The BBC covered the news by putting together a short video in which they speak to a group of young gamers, who explain they play roughly 20 hours a week.

Gamers could can spend hours in front of the screen without becoming addicted, he said.

It's a question you may have asked yourself when you were younger, or may be asking about your own kids now - how much video game time is too much? This is as per the draft of the new document that was released previous year. However, the World Health Organization says only one to three per cent of gamers meet the criteria. "Trans organizations were expecting this, and we have been demanding the end of the pathologization of our identities since 2007".

Digging into the terminology a little bit reveals that playing the odd 20-minute game of Federation Internationale de Football Association or plugging an hour into Zelda each weekend is not going to be detrimental to your health.

The games industry raked in US$108 billion (RM432 billion) worldwide a year ago, more than double movie box-office receipts, said Superdata, which tracks the games and interactive media sector.

Almost 40 percent of those sales are in east Asia, especially China and South Korea. Those seeking treatment for compulsive or addictive technology use, including for gaming, have had trouble finding treatment that is covered by insurance.

So-called "shooter games" such as "Fortnite" - described on the support website Game Quitters as the "hottest game in the world" - are either played online or on offline consoles.

Mental health experts have long spoken out against the harmful effects of prolonged gaming, but this is the first time that it is being officially recognised as a mental health disorder by the global body. Gaming disorder was considered for inclusion based on scientific evidence and the recommendations of experts around the world.

That said, the handling of the classification has received some criticism.

WHO officials added the hope that adding this condition to a sexual health chapter of the ICD codes would "help increase access to care for health interventions" and "destigmatize the condition".

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