Parents now have a legit reason to intervene when they find their kids becoming too obsessed with video games. Recently, WHO declared and classified gaming as an addiction. In the 11th amendment of the ICD (International Classification of Diseases), Gaming addiction has been categorized as a mental disorder.
Gaming as an addiction
Addiction tends to affect the mind of an addict in a way that addict priorities the said addiction over all other aspects of his life. Simultaneously, it becomes a compulsive behavior that is hard to give up. One can observe these peculiarities in case of drugs or alcohol.
Gaming, like an addiction, affects the human brain in a similar way where they begin to ignore other aspects of their life including family, education, personal health, professional responsibilities, and duties or even essential everyday activities (taking a shower for instance). In case of an addiction, the person finds it hard to give up even when their behavior has led to repercussions or potentially damaging incidences in their lives.
WHO has determined to regard it as an addiction or ‘gaming disorder’ when the person exhibits an extreme obsession over a period of at least 12 months. However, if the behavior shows extremities, a person would be eligible for diagnosis before a period of 12 months.
Cure to the addiction
One of the primary reasons for the inclusion of the gaming disorder in the ICD-11 was to raise awareness. Several nations had already designated gaming addiction as a severely growing mental health issue; South Korea prohibits children below the age of 16 from participating in gaming activities in the evening till 12 in the morning.
The UK and several other nations have existing clinics that help with counseling and other methods to treat the addiction. With the recognition from WHO, there will be more treatment facilities to help people with their addiction. Moreover, it raises caution among the general public about a potential threat they might be susceptible to.
How common is the gaming disorder?
Compared to the percentage of the world population that takes an interest in gaming, the number of minds severely affected is relatively low, but it is rampant enough to draw attention from WHO. The risk looms large now more than ever, and gamer must be cautious to trace any change in the pattern of their own behavior where they begin to give importance to gaming over other everyday activities. Any change in physical or psychological behavior must be duly noted and taken care of.
Gaming addiction and obsession with digital technology
WHO has identified gaming disorder as a mental condition which takes a toll on the addict’s general psychological behavior including their eating and sleeping patterns, often leading them to isolate themselves from the world outside the gaming world.
The gaming addiction is, however, not to be confused with young people’s obsession with digital technology. Digital technology is used at large to communicate with the outside world (for instance through social media) or to cultivate an interest. Gaming addiction, on the other hand, begins to sever communication with the outside world.