World Health Organisation (WHO) officially acknowledges addiction with video games


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Towards the update to the draft International Classification of diseases (ICD-11), the World Health Organisation (WHO) also acknowledged addiction with computer games. In our Center for support with excessive use of the internet and digital technologies, we noticed an increase in the number of people searching for help on some sort of problems in which amongst these, is the problem with excessive use of other internet content which happened to be one of the most serious problems.

World Health Organisation (WHO) will this year issue an updated version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) - the previous version of ICD-10 was issued in year 1990). The draft ICD-11 is already accessible on the internet page where among new definition of diseases and dysfunction, we found with video game players (internet game, computer, console, mobile phone, and other devices). WHO defines addiction to video games as behavioral pattern where an individual loses control over the use of games and because of that, experience negative consequences on more areas of life. Person gives advantage to the virtual world  and neglects other areas such as school/job, family, friends, personal hygiene habits, hobbies etc.  More time spent on playing games on devices, and all little interest and motivation shows for other aspects of life which can have an influence on health and life of the individual and on their environment. Addiction with playing video games is within ICD diagnostic criteria which shows the symptoms and duration (at least 12 months). 

Different professionals worldwide have published research which reminded and exposed the worrisome negative effect of excessive use of the internet and digital technology on the health of individual hence there is a need for health program in this area. WHO is hereby encouraging Department for Mental Health and Addiction which in the year 2014 started to implement different activities in the part of public health with the purpose of warning and solution on problems which include initiative to include addiction to video games in (ICD-11). Before that, American Psychiatric Association  collectively issued an updated Diagnostic and Statistical  Manual DSM-V for mental health disturbances whereby possible official inclusion of addiction to video games was announced to be part of the next copy of the guide. In Centre for help at excessive use of internet and digital technology LOGOUT, we are already expected installation of addiction with playing video games in the ICD-11. However, in the last few years, there is exaggerated research interest become problematic, also in Slovenia as more people came for help because of limited problems. In practice, we also observed many examples with problems of excessive use or addiction with other internet content such as social network, chat room, youtube channels, internet game of luck and pornography. There remains high needs for research and better understanding of the aforementioned problems.

Addiction with playing games often can be connected with problems on other areas of life of individuals or with other mental health problems. Research shows that addiction with internet content connect with some other disturbances such as depression, problems with anxiety, attention problems with hyperactivity, autism spectrum disorder. Research shows that playing games can definitely have positive as well as negative influence on changes in the brain including other addiction from game genre, content and strategy of game.


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