The World Health Organization said on Monday that it was expanding its manual of disorders to include what it termed as the ‘gaming disorder.’ According to CNN, the new classification puts individuals engaging in both online and offline gaming in the International Classification of Diseases Manual, ICD-11.
According to details of the WHO standards of classification of the disorder, persons whose personality and operations have been impaired by playing of such games qualify to be included in the list due to the adverse effects that gaming has on them. It was, however, clarified that persons who play such games do not qualify to be included in the classification, but only those whose lifestyles and personalities were impaired and affected by the games.
The new classification caused a stir in the gaming industry, especially persons engaging in such games yet unaffected.
The WHO reassured members of the public affected by the classification would be accorded the appropriate treatment. Doctors and clinicians would also, according to the WHO, be trained on how to handle such patients who seek medical help on such grounds.
According to the symptoms of the condition, a patient is supposed to show signs of lack of self-control regarding engagement in gaming activities, making preference of gaming over other activities of importance as well as the escalation of gaming activities into personal life. Prolonged exposure to the condition is most likely, according to the WHO, to lead to further effects on family, education, occupation and interpersonal lifestyles. Adverse exposure to the condition can lead to violence and isolation.
Doctors have welcomed the new classification. Responding to the move, Dr. Petros Levounis of the Jersey Medial School Department of Psychiatry said that the recognition would help the medical field to be more comprehensive in providing solutions to common and emergent medical health conditions.
In the US, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has already included gaming disorders in its latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). APA says that more testing and research into the condition is necessary to ensure appropriate classification.
The new classification is set to matter significantly and would open new frontiers as far as research into the issue of gaming is concerned. This comes even as speculations mount over the effects of video games on persons who normally engage in active real-life shooting. It has been prospected that engaging in such games lead to potentially violent or antisocial behavior.