The World Health Organization adds the disorder of the game to the classifications of diseases

    Abdulaziz Sobh

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    The World Health Organization proposed to add gaming upheaval to its new comprehensive disease classifications manual on Monday, which angered the gaming industry but reassured doctors who hope it can make treatment more easily available.

    Some experts from the USA UU They said it would make little difference when it comes to helping people with the disorder, at least in the United States, but others said it would legitimize a disorder that some people are reluctant to acknowledge.

    WHO added online and offline gaming disorder to its latest draft of the International Classification of Disease manual, called ICD-11.

    It is not about children spending a few hours in the basement playing "Fortnite" or "Call of Duty". As with any medical disorder, the affected person must be severely affected.

    "The game disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent game behavior ('digital games' or 'video games'), which can be online or offline," says the manual.

    The symptoms listed by the WHO echo the symptoms of other compulsive or addictive disorders. They include a lack of control over the game; giving preference to the game over other interests of life and daily activities; and the continuation or escalation of the games despite the negative consequences.

    "The pattern of behavior is of sufficient severity to cause significant deterioration in the areas of personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning," the WHO said.

    "Having WHO recognition is significant," said Dr. Petros Levounis, president of psychiatry at the New Jersey School of Medicine at Rutgers University.

    The WHO ICD-11 is widely used outside the United States to classify all diseases. In the United States, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association is used to define mental illness. He mentions the game mess in its latest edition (DSM-5) but says that more research is needed before cataloging it as a separate mess.

    "The 'players' play compulsively, to the exclusion of other interests, and their persistent and recurrent online activity produces a clinically significant impairment or distress. People with this condition endanger their academic or work performance due to the amount of time they spend. they spend playing, "he says.

    Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University has done some of the most influential research on the possibility of gambling addiction.

    "I and many others assume that the game is not really a problem, but it is a symptom of other problems," he told NBC News. Many thought that it was somehow a failure of moral or self-control.

    To see if it was, the Gentile team followed children who played for several years.

    "This is not what we found, we found that when children became addicted, their depression increased, their anxiety increased, their social phobia increased and their grades decreased," Gentile said.

    When the children were able to recant the obsessive games, their symptoms reversed, he said.

    Gentile believes that medical organizations, health insurers, and others should pay attention to WHO designation.

    "This is not a matter of opinion, it's a science problem," he said.

    "This is an important scientific and medical organization, they do not do things lightly and without reason."

    The American Psychological Association has long struggled for the WHO ICD to be used on the DSM when determining health insurance coverage.

    Levounis said he hoped that the WHO designation would boost the investigation that was marginalized in the 1980s, when tobacco companies, which were sued for selling addictive and deadly products, argued that tobacco was not unique and that companies should not be penalized for selling addictive products.

    "They were basically saying that any behavior can be addictive," Levounis said. "All this chaos delayed us maybe 20-30 years, now there's renewed interest and excitement."

    WHY DOES IT MATTER?
    In the USA UU., It is important for an important reason: health insurance will not pay for treating someone for a disorder that does not exist.

    "That's where the rubber meets the road," said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Gambling Problems.

    And even if there is a designation, it can be difficult to find a treatment and get the insurance companies to pay for it.

    "Gambling addiction has been at DSM since 1980 and it still costs us to get a routine refund," Whyte said.

    On the one hand, health insurance companies do not have to cover mental and behavioral disorders.

    "This is something that the Affordable Care Act was going to address, but it's still [regulated] at the state level," Whyte said.

    "What we have discovered is that when it comes to insurance companies, it depends on the state you are in and who your therapist is."

    And that assumes that people even recognize that they have a problem, Whyte added.

    As with players, players may think they are "professionals." That makes a game or a play disorder different from a substance abuse disorder.

    "You can not become a professional drinker or a professional smoker," Whyte said.

    "But players feel that the more they play, the better they become." The better they get, the more they earn. So quitting smoking is the last thing you want to do. You're a bet to win everything. "

    'ADDICTION IS NOT ABOUT WINNING'
    In the end, however, winning is not the goal. Someone who plays once or twice for fun will buy an island if he wins a big prize. A gambling addict, Whyte said, returns him to the game.

    "Addiction is not about winning, it's about staying in action," he said.

    The Entertainment Software Association has fought against any classification of gambling addiction.

    "It is extremely important to bear in mind that the draft circular is not final and is still under discussion and review," the organization said in a statement. He stated that there is a debate in the medical community about the appointment.

    Jen MacLean, executive director of the International Game Developers Association, also attacked the WHO move.

    "IGDA is compatible with responsible gaming, and we believe that the WHO has done a disservice to our players, creators and all forms of media by creating a 'gaming disorder' as a disease," he said.

    Gentile said that researchers do not necessarily believe that the games themselves are in any way harmful.

    "Most people do not have a serious problem with that," he said.

    But Gentile said his research shows that some children become addicted and estimates that between 1 and 10 percent of children who play develop a disorder.

    "That's more than 3 million children who cause serious damage to their lives because of the way they are playing," he said.

    "Until this problem is recognized by the medical community as a legitimate problem, it will be really difficult for them to get help."

     

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