Is “Gaming Disorder” Considered a New Mental Health Problem Now?
The World Health Organization has announced that compulsively playing video games is now considered a mental health condition, verifying the fears of many parents.
The World Health Organization or WHO, hopes that in identifying “gaming disorder” as a separate addiction, will assist government, health care workers, and families in being more vigilant and prepared for identifying the risks of the condition. The condition is still extremely rare, having no more than 3% of gamers affected.
While gaming disorder has been accepted as new problem with scientific evidence to back it, Dr. Joan Harvey of the British Psychological Society, is concerned about unnecessary concern among parents of video gamers that the new disorder might cause.
“People need to understand this doesn’t mean every child who spends hours in their room playing games is an addict, otherwise medics are going to be flooded with requests for help,” she said.
Many believe that the new classification of the disorder is imperative to helping the people hooked on video games seek help, especially since they are typically teenager or young adults unwilling to seek help for themselves.
The addiction seems to be best treated using psychological therapies, although some medicines might work too.
While WHO has approved the proposal of the addiction, the American Psychiatric Association has not declared gaming disorder as a new mental health problem stating that it is “a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for inclusion”.
The majority of the scientific literature on compulsive gamers has been based off of evidence from young Asian men. The studies have shown that people who are consumed in Internet games, have certain pathways in the brain that are triggered in a direct, intense way, similar to the way a drug addicts brain is affected by a given substance.
“If (video games) are interfering with the expected functions of the person — whether it is studies, whether it’s socialization, whether it’s work — then you need to be cautious and perhaps seek help.” – Dr. Mark Griffith, Professor of Behavioral Addiction, Nottingham Trent University
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