Addiction to video games has also been added to the International Classification of Diseases

Experts from around the world gathered at the World Health Assembly in Switzerland have added professional burnout and video game addiction to the International Classification of Diseases. These are two disorders that are typical of modern life. This list serves to establish health trends and statistics based on the observations and conclusions of a medical team specialised in each field. This reference guide, which will come into force in 2022, is used by health professionals from all countries and also facilitates the exchange of information.

Burnout has been added to the section on disorders related to employment or unemployment and is defined as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of extreme tiredness or physical and emotional exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.

This attrition does not arise suddenly but usually develops over a period of five to eight years of continuous exhaustion and chronic stress in the workplace. The responsible profile of those affected complicates the relief of the disorder since the symptoms generate feelings of guilt that lead the person to become even more involved in work, causing more exhaustion and thus perpetuating a vicious circle.

Addiction to video games

Videogame addiction has been added to the category of addictive or dependent behaviours. The WHO has explained that this condition is characterised by a pattern of persistent or recurrent online and offline gaming behaviours. The diagnosis is confirmed when the addictive behaviour is observed over a period of at least twelve months, although there are cases in which the condition is evident and serious within shorter periods. Symptoms include impaired control over gaming; increasing priority given to gaming, which takes precedence over other interests and daily activities; and the continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

Addiction to digital games poses a high risk to the physical and mental health of the people affected or of those around them whenever the pattern of the player’s behaviour leads to personal, family, social, educational or occupational impairment. Among the health disorders that may derive from gaming, we can mention the lack of physical activity, an unhealthy diet, visual or hearing problems, musculoskeletal complications, lack of sleep, aggressive behaviour, and depression.