How To Deal With Gaming Addiction: Now An Illness According To WHO

How To Deal With Gaming Addiction: Now An Illness According To WHO

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With rapid development in technology and the AI sector, a number of disorders have also been on the rise. So much so, that the World Health Organization has added “Gaming Disorder” to the list of disorders. At the 72nd World Health Assembly, 194 members decided to make it a globally recognized illness. It will be effective from 1st January, 2022. This disorder was included in the 11th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, also known as ICD-11. It was done based on the reviews of available evidence that link video games and mental health problems.

What is Gaming Disorder?

Gaming Disorder is a pattern of persistent or repetitive gaming behavior (digital or video gaming). It maybe online or offline. The symptoms of this illness include:

video games and mental health problems
Unhealthy addiction to games | Image: File Image
  • Impaired control over gaming.
  • Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that people lose interest in other life activities.
  • Continuation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. This behavior pattern is severe enough for at least 12 months at a stretch. It results in significant damages to multiple aspects of life.

People who remain physically inactive for a long time due to gaming may have a higher risk of obesity, sleep problems. Coupled with other health issues like anxiety depression and stress.

Video Games And Mental Health Problems:

Since it is a new classification, there is no clear treatment plan in place yet. However, treatments for gambling addiction will also work in these cases. These may include therapy, medication and self-help groups. Use the following methods:

  • Psycho-education: educating the person about gaming behaviours and their effects on mental health.
  • Treatment: helping a person to deal with irrational thoughts.
  • Intrapersonal: which helps people to explore their identity, and improve their emotional intelligence.
  • Interpersonal: teaching an individual how to interact with others by working on their communication skills.
  • Family intervention may be required if gaming disorder is negatively affecting relationships with others.
  • Development of a new lifestyle: people should explore their skills and abilities and find activities other than gaming.

This recognition of gaming disorder by the WHO is a big step in the debate surrounding gaming addiction.

Read more: How To Not Let Anger Take The Better Of You?

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