Obsessed with video games is now eligible to be listed as a serious mental health problem, according to experts from the World Health Organization.
In the classification of diseases newly published on June 18 in Geneva, game addiction is classified as mental illness.
However, there are concerns that the new classification may lead to the discrimination towards younger gamers.
Game addiction, according to the WHO, it is very rare – affects only under 3% of all players in all games and they worry that professional gamers will be labeled as mentally ill and have to find a way for treatment.
Dr Shekhar Saxena, director of mental illness and drug addiction at WHO, said that WHO supports the suggestion that game-related disorders should be listed as a new psychiatric problem based on science evidences (collected from young men in Asia) next to “the need for treatment in many parts of the world”.
Saxena said that “Studies show that when these people are fascinated with games on the Internet , certain areas of their brain are activated in the same way that the brains of drug users are affected when they are taken medicine: direct and intense
The game will promote a nervous reaction that impacts to fun and reward, and its extreme results are addictive behavior. ”
Dr Joan Harvey, spokesman for the British Psychological Association, warned that the new classification could cause unnecessary worries for parents.
“We need to understand that this does not mean that all players on the game for a few hours are addicted to gaming because if this is true, doctors will be very busy in treating this problem.”
Some experts support the WHO decision, arguing that it is important to quickly identify people who are passionate about the game because most of them are young teens and young men who never seek by themselves any helps.
Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokeswoman for Royal College of England on addictive behavior and being a psychologist, said about the best addiction treatment and psychological therapies although some medications are effective.
The American Psychiatric Association has not classified gaming disorder as a new mental problem. In a statement in 2013, the association said, “this is a condition that requires more clinical and experimental studies before it is included in the diagnostic guidelines set by the association.”
Dr Mark Griffiths, a professor of addictive behavior at the University of Nottingham Trent, who studied the concept of game disorder, suggests that the new WHO’s classification will help legalizing the problem and reinforcing strategies for treatment.
He said that “The percentage of people with obsessive compulsive behavior to the game can be very small, less than 1%, and these people will have other underlying problems like depression, autism, or bipolar disorder.