Gaming Disorder and Worker Burnout Syndrome added to ICD

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29 May 2019, 6:26 pm

Gaming Disorder' Is a Now an Official Medical Condition, According to the WHO

At the World Health Organization’s World Health Assembly on Saturday, member states officially recognized gaming addiction as a modern disease. Last year, the WHO voted to include gaming disorder as an official condition in the draft version of its latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD); the vote finalizes that decision. The WHO’s ICD, currently in its 11th edition, serves as the international standard for diagnosing and treating health conditions.

According to Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesperson for the WHO, the move is “based on reviews of available evidence,” and reflects general agreement among experts around the world that some people show a “pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control,” prioritizing gaming over other daily responsibilities, including attending school or work and keeping social appointments.

According to the WHO experts who analyzed studies on gaming behavior, people’s use of gaming is different from their use of the internet, social media, online gambling and online shopping. There isn’t sufficient data, they say, to indicate that people’s reliance on those is a “behavioral addiction” the way gaming can be.

According to the new definition, gaming behavior shifts into a disorder when it takes precedence over other daily activities, and starts to impair a person’s relationships, school or work responsibilities for at least a year.

Still, not all behavior experts agree that gaming is distinct enough from other internet or smartphone-based behavior, and question why gaming is singled out. The criteria used by the WHO are similar to those used to distinguish any addictive behavior—namely. that the behavior starts to take priority over a person’s life to the exclusion of behaviors essential to good health.

The problem with gaming and other…new media is that they produce a different culture,” says Carras, who also considers herself a gamer. “But clinicians are approaching this behavior from an understanding of a disorder based on a continuum of normative, recreational and problematic use rather than from the setting or context of a unique, new culture.” Carras, for example, points out that gaming fulfills a participatory and social need for some.

Rather than singling out gaming, Carras and others support the idea of researching internet use and potentially problematic dependence on technology more broadly, to better understand some of the commonalities that patterns of gaming, social media and internet use might share.

The World Health Organization officially recognizes workplace ‘burnout’ as an occupational phenomenon
For the first time, the WHO has officially classified workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon in its latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases. The agency previously defined burnout as a “state of vital exhaustion,” but this is the first time it’s being directly linked in its classification of diseases as a work hazard.

“Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” the WHO said Tuesday. “Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

The organization said burnout, which the WHO does not call a medical condition, is classified by three factors:

feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
and reduced professional efficacy.

The syndrome is now an “epidemic,” according to Dan Schawbel, research director at HR advisory firm Future Workplace — and he expects the issue to worsen.

“Basically, workers are getting taken advantage of,” Schawbel said. “As a result, people are burned out, they’re stressed out.”

Schawbel said burnout has become a problem as employees work more and feel they’re not being fairly compensated. Though Americans on average get 10 days of vacation, Schawbel said employees are often pressured into skipping vacation days. He added that technology also plays a role in the rise of burnout because employees often have to respond to emails or calls outside of normal work hours.

“Not having your phone is the new vacation,” Schawbel said.

Burnout doesn’t just negatively affect workers, either. Schawbel pointed to a 2017 study that says 95% of human resource leaders say the syndrome sabotages workplace retention. The WHO also noted that burnout prevents professional success.

The WHO said it plans to develop “evidence-based” guidelines for mental well-being in the workplace. Its member nations are set to implement the revisions to the International Classification of Diseases by 2022.

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DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

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