Gaming addiction classified as mental health disorder

The World Health Organization (WHO) reportedly has classified addiction to video games as a mental health disorder. The United Nations health agency said that this separate classification of the “Gaming Disorder” would tend to help the countries in preparing themselves in a better manner for detecting this problem.

The director of the mental health department of the WHO, Dr. Shekhar Saxena, said that the organization considered and welcomed the proposal of listing down Gaming Disorder as a health problem on the basis of scientific evidence. Further, Saxena added that people coming under this category need to be immediately subjected to medical treatment.

Dr. Joan Harvey at the British Psychological Society said that this classification would bring about unnecessary stress among the parents. However, most of the experts welcomed this move and said that the classification is important for the detection of addicts of video games. They explained that, as a majority of the addicts are teenagers they require outside interference to help them recover the obsession which may cause many problems to them in their future.

A spokeswoman for Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, said in a statement, “We come across parents who are distraught, not only because they’re seeing their child drop out of school, but because they’re seeing an entire family structure fall apart.” She further explained that such obsessions are generally treated with potential psychological therapies and certain medicines.

Dr. Mark Griffiths, a researcher involved in studying the disorders related to video games, said that this new classification may help in strengthening the different treatment strategies for speedy recovery from the addiction. Griffiths, a renowned professor at the Nottingham Trent University, said in a statement, “Video gaming is like a non-financial kind of gambling from a psychological point of view.” Further, he added, “Gamblers use money as a way of keeping score whereas gamers use points.”

The behavioral addiction professor further said that the average number of video game addicts in a typical country could be very less and that much of these people could be only suffering from conditions such as autism and depression.

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