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Excessive video gaming to be recognized as mental health disorder

Excessive video gaming to be recognized as mental health disorder

This applies whether it may be offline or online, on PC, consoles or mobile.

For the vast majority of gamers, of course, this doesn't develop into a genuine problem.

Now put the controller away. "Impaired control" is the key phrase in this definition, with the apparent disorder leading gaming to "take precedence" over basically every other aspect of the addict's life.

"The WHO move reflects growing awareness about this disorder - among health professionals, parents and teachers", said Manoj Sharma, associate professor of clinical psychology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans), Bangalore.

Playing video games obsessively could be classified as a mental health disorder from 2018, once the World Health Organization (WHO) goes ahead with proposed changes and updates to its diagnostic manual.

To warrant a diagnosis of such a disorder, one shall have "impaired control over gaming" and give "increasing priority to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities" and continue gaming "despite the occurrence of negative effect", according to the draft.

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"Disorders due to addictive behaviors are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviors other than the use of dependence-producing substances", the gaming-relevant section states.

According to the World Health Organization, gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent gaming behaviour, which may be online or offline and evident over a period of at least 12 months.

Adding "Gaming Disorder" to the list means that it will be recognized by doctors and insurance companies.

Sharma and his colleagues have seen dozens of young people - the youngest a 11-year-old and the oldest a 20-year-old - over the past three years at the Nimhans Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) clinic, the first exclusively for patients with technology-related addictive behaviour.

"We just don't think it's a good idea to let them spend hours playing video games", said Knoxville mother Meredith Prince.

The video game industry brings in close to 100 billion a year and there are no signs of it slowing down.

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