Gaming Disorder Is Set To Become An Official Mental Health Condition

Anyone who's stayed up all night playing GTA or The Sims until their eyes feel like they'll fall out of their sockets will know that video games can make you feel wrecked.

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If that's you, it'll be no surprise to you that 'gaming disorder' is set to be classified as a mental health condition for the first time.

The disorder is set to be included in the International Classification of Diseases, a manual published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which hasn't been updated since 1990.

The inclusion of gaming disorder in the eleventh edition of the manual, due to be published in 2018, will further establish it as a serious health condition that needs to be monitored.

"Health professionals need to recognise that gaming disorder may have serious health consequences," said Vladimir Poznyak, a member of the WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

"Most people who play video games don't have a disorder, just like most people who drink alcohol don't have a disorder either. However, in certain circumstances overuse can lead to adverse effects."

While the wording of the disorder has yet to be confirmed, the draft of the manual outlines criteria to help doctors decide whether someone has the disorder.

Killing an hour or ten by playing a video game has boomed in recent years, with more and more people getting sucked into their XBox or Playstation.

A poll of 500 gamers by ESET found that 10% of them admitted to sitting in front of their screens playing games for at least 12 hours a day.

However, officials have yet to conclude whether all that time spent playing CoD will have a serious impact on your health - apart from sucking away all your precious life, that is.

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Last year, researchers from Oxford University undertook a study to see just how many people don't just play a lot of video games but are actually clinically addicted.

Surprisingly, only 2-3% of the 19,000 people the researchers surveyed from the UK, US, Canada and Germany experienced more than five symptoms from the American Psychiatric Association's checklist of 'internet gaming disorder" symptoms.

The nine symptoms for "internet gaming disorder" drawn up by the APA a few years ago include anxiety, withdrawal symptoms and antisocial behaviour.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Andrew Przybylski, praised the innovation of the study but admitted that its results confounded expectations.

"To our knowledge, these are the first findings from a large-scale project to produce robust evidence on the potential new problem of 'internet gaming disorder,'" he said.

"Contrary to what was predicted, the study did not find a clear link between potential addiction and negative effects on health."

While recognition of gaming disorder is a positive step, it's clear that more research is needed to decide whether video games are genuinely as dangerous as doctors suspect.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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