A recent report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that individuals who play video games for 12 hours or more could have a mental disorder. The report, published by the Forbes, said that the WHO is mulling over adding gaming disorder to its list of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) — an international standard for defining health conditions and diseases. It is issued by health professionals and its 11th edition is slated to be released in 2018.
The beta draft of the ICD defined gaming disorder as the inability to control the urge to play and stop at will. When long bouts of gaming sessions become more than a hobby, they take the shape of a serious latent issue that hijacks an individual’s life and comes in the way of his/her quotidian chores. The term can be used for both offline and online gaming. “The behavior pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behavior may be continuous, episodic or recurrent,” said the draft. Though the diagnosis can be confirmed only after the behavior continues for a year, in extreme cases, the duration of the disease may not be this long.
Gaming disorder not confirmed under DSM-5
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a guide created by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and mental health professionals for diagnosing mental illnesses, has not given cognizance to gaming addiction, despite its inclusion in the ICD. Rather, it is included as a problem to watch out for to include it in the near future if need be. The APA said that by listing internet gaming disorder in section III of the DSM-5, it wanted to encourage further research on the subject to warrant its announcement as a disorder.
Extreme cases of video gaming sessions imperiled lives
As the debate of including or not including gaming addiction as a mental disorder continues unabatingly, there have been instances when extreme cases of gaming came to light. According to Fox News, in 2011, a New Mexico woman was so addicted to online video games that she completely neglected her toddler leaving it to die of malnutrition and dehydration. Another report by the CNN stated that a man died of a heart attack after playing continuously for three days. Doctors said exhaustion may have caused his death.
Others believe that online games may not be all bad
While a number of factors necessitated the declaration of prolonged habit of playing games as an addiction, there are experts who believe that online video games may not be that bad. There are games like Super Mario that can boost brain functions in geriatric players. However, anything in excess is bad. Similarly, long hours of playing online games is a sign of an internal problem that calls for intervention.
Dealing with addiction
Whether it is an addiction to online video games or a mental disorder like depression and anxiety, the only way to address these is seeking treatment. If a loved one is grappling with a mental illness, seek immediate help.
Sovereign Health is the leading behavioral health treatment provider in the United States with state-of-the-art centers across the country. Whether you are looking for anxiety disorder treatment centers or addiction treatment centers, contact our 24/7 helpline members for quick resolution. You may even chat online with our trained representatives for more information about our anxiety disorder rehab centers.