International experts have gathered in Japan to discuss gaming addiction, which is due to be added to an international list of illnesses.

The Global Forum brought together 280 people with experts and researchers coming to discuss the disorder as they searched for a “treatment” for health professionals to use.

The World Health Organisation added ‘Gaming Disorder” earlier this year as is categorised as

“A pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.”

The decision to include gaming disorders in the WHO International Classification of diseases was based on reviews of available evidence and consensus of experts from different disciplines to allow for the development of treatment programs for people with those health conditions.

WHO have already stated that current studies suggest that gaming disorder actually only affects a small proportion of people who engage in digital or video gaming.

However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behaviour.

Because Gaming is associated with low levels of physical activity and low nutrition its important for users to balance gaming with a lifestyle outside of it, while the disorder will only affect a few, reducing the development of the disorder by being aware of the time spent and maintaining a lifestyle outside of gaming are good preventative measures.

Charis McAwesome, co-founder and manager of hashtagme.co.nz – Charis has worked in digital for over 10yrs specialising in digital management, analytics, digital advertising, social media, digital pathways, and CRM services.

She’s also most likely to call bullshit and get Hashtag in the shit.