It’s official, my fellow gamers and non-gamers. Videogame addiction is finally being recognized as a mental illness by the United Nation’s World Health Organization.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it happened on Monday when the WHO released their newest edition of the International Classification of Diseases identifying “gaming disorder.”
“Gaming disorder” describes any person whose careers, education, family, or social life has been “upended by video games.”
WHO identifying videogame addiction as a disease is important.
The AJC says that “WHO’s International Classification of Diseases gives medical professionals around the world a single standard for identifying a problematic medical or behavioral issue and accepting it as a disorder worthy of attention.”
That means that WHO’s 191 member nations now recognize gaming disorder as a disease despite their cultural differences.
Furthermore, in the United States, these classification codes are the foundation of our health insurance billing meaning that a healthcare professional can now treat a patient with this disorder and expect to get paid.
In other words, gaming addiction will finally be taken as seriously as alcoholism or drug addiction by mental health professionals worldwide.
According to the AJC, in 2013, internet gaming disorder was found to be more prevalent among male adolescents from 12-20 years of age who lived in Asian countries than in North America or Europe. Their statistics said that 10 percent of Chinese children were affected while only 1 or 2 percent of American children were affected. The children affected were also more likely to have social problems such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
Now the disorder has been recognized, experts are looking for the most effective method of psychological treatment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a therapy that “focuses on identifying the problem and devising strategies and paths to resistance,” has been working well, according to Dr. Petros Levounis, an addiction specialist who is the chair of the department of psychiatry at Rutger’s New Jersey Medical School.
Now that it’s considered a problem, mental health professionals can look into other methods as well.