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Its official, excessive gaming is now a medical disorder

Its official, excessive gaming is now a medical disorder

In what could be a worrying development for gamers all around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially categorized excessive gaming as a medical problem. The term “gaming disorder” just gained credibility when WHO included it in its latest edition of Internal Classification of Diseases.

The edition lists the following major symptoms of what is newly categorized as gaming disorder: 

  • Impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context)
  • Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities
  • Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences

Video gaming is a major industry raked in over $81 billion in revenues in 2014. To get a perspective, this figure is more than twice that of the revenue earned by the international film industry. Additionally, the revenues have crossed $90 billion mark in 2015. So, it should come as no surprise that this decision by the WHO faced massive backlash from gaming aficionados worldwide, with some healthcare experts concluding it to be overly broad and subjective. This is all but obvious, since the impact and severity of any “disorder” suffers from person to person. In this case, it also differs from game to game.

The effects mentioned above are said to have similarities with other addictive activities. “Disorders due to addictive behaviours are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviours other than the use of dependence-producing substances,” writes the WHO. “Disorders due to addictive behaviors include gambling disorder and gaming disorder, which may involve both online and offline behavior.



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