Hat Tip to Joe L for this latest piece of insanity:
The World Health Organization is adding an unexpected disorder to its list of mental health conditions in 2018. Next year, people who play an excessive amount of video games could find themselves diagnosed with “gaming disorder.”
WHO’s beta draft of its upcoming 11th update of International Classification of Diseasescharacterizes gaming disorder as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
The inclusion of gaming disorder in the ICD-11 means health care workers and doctors can now diagnose someone with the condition.
The description of the condition continues: “The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.”
Where to begin?
I think this report provides the best reason I’ve yet see to just close down the World Health Organisation. It’s full of crazy people. And they’re all just killjoys. It no longer has anything much to do with health. I’m beginning to wonder if it ever did.
At least with tobacco the health threat was something real: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer. You do know that don’t you? Everybody knows that. And lung cancer is a disease that kills people pretty rapidly. It’s not surprising that some people are absolutely terrified of it. So what’s the health threat associated with Gaming Disorder? It’s…
“significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”
Seeing that list, I couldn’t help noticing that smoking bans cause “significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational
or AND other important areas of functioning.” But let’s leave smoking bans aside for now. The article offers a helpful clarification:
When you stop controlling the game and it starts controlling you — that’s when WHO’s definition of gaming disorder applies.
How do you know when you’ve stopped controlling the game, and it’s started controlling you? Answer: there’s no way of knowing, because that isn’t really what happens.
I suppose what they’re thinking of is someone who plays video games from dawn to dusk, to the complete neglect of everything else. Maybe there are people like that. I can’t say that I’ve ever encountered any.
But I suspect that they’re actually thinking of someone who plays video games for a few hours every day, when they could have been (perhaps should have been) doing something else. But how many hours of video gaming does it take before it becomes a “disorder”?
It’s like alcohol. Most people think of an alcoholic as someone who drinks from dawn to dusk. But for the medics in the WHO, an alcoholic is someone who just has one glass of wine (or whatever exceeds the threshold number of “units” of alcohol). For them drinking any alcohol at all is drinking too much. Just like one cigarette is one cigarette too many. And the same is probably true of video games: most likely they think that playing any video games at all is playing them too often.
And if people playing video games “exhibit pathological patterns of play,” then what about someone who spends a lot of time watching TV, or reading books, or solving crossword puzzles, or playing chess or pool or bridge? Is that any different?
Everyone, I suppose, has had the experience of reading a thriller or whodunnit and being totally immersed in it, unable to put it down. What’s to stop these bastards in the WHO diagnosing Reading Disorder if somebody stays immersed in a book for days on end? Nothing, as far as I can see. Coming soon after Gaming Disorder is Reading Disorder, TV disorder, Crossword Disorder, Chess Disorder.
How about Mountaineering Disorder? Some people go off for weeks – months even – climbing mountains. Or Sailing Disorder? Some people sail around the world. They spend their whole lives in boats.
Is there any activity at all that could not be classified as a disorder is someone engages in it for long enough? Isn’t a stockbroker somebody who spends far too much time stockbroking? And a musician someone who spend far too much time playing musical instruments? And a computer programmer someone who spend far too much time programming computers?
To the diseased minds in the WHO, they are indeed new, hitherto-unrecognised diseases or disorders. And there are countless numbers of them. These medics in the WHO are poisoning the world by discovering innumerable new diseases, which need to first be named – e.g. “Gaming Disorder” -, and then treated, most likely with pharmaceutical drugs. Things that nobody ever used to think of as diseases – like smoking – are now classified as epidemics, to be fought with the same determination as cholera or typhoid or malaria. For once these classical communicable diseases could be prevented or cured, the medics in the WHO just invented imaginary new ones to take their place.
Oddly enough I do think that there are real dangers attached to playing some video games. But the dangers don’t lie in simply spending too long playing them to the neglect of other activities. A personal story, which I’ve told many times:
Some 30 or so years ago I used to regularly play a video game called F1 Grand Prix, in which the player was a driver in a racing car, and competing with other racing cars. I gradually got better and better at playing it. And the trick of playing was to brake very hard when you arrived at a corner, and then put the wheel hard over to go round the corner, and then put your foot down on the accelerator (“pedal to the metal”).
One afternoon, after I’d been playing it pretty much all day, I remember that I needed to do a bit of shopping. And so headed out to my little Mini parked outside, started it up, and headed for a shop that was about a mile away. Almost immediately I started driving I noticed something was wrong. I simply wasn’t driving the car in the smooth, easy, relaxed way that I usually did. I got to the shop OK, and bought what I needed, and headed back home. But on the way back, my driving was getting worse and worse. And I was driving faster and faster.
The first mishap occurred as I came into a roundabout, and turned far too sharply to go round it. The car mounted the kerb in the central island, and rolled over the grass, before dropping off the kerb back onto the road.
By now I was getting seriously worried. What the heck was happening? What was I going to do next? Would I make it the few hundred yards back to my home?
I almost didn’t. Coming into a tight corner with traffic lights on it, I braked hard, and actually spun the car. I ended up facing back the way I’d been coming.
Fortunately the roads were pretty empty. Nobody saw me drive across the roundabout. And nobody saw me spin the car a few hundred yards further on either. The roads were perfectly dry on that summer day. And I hadn’t drunk a single drop of alcohol.
Once I got home I soon worked out what had happened. To drive the F1 racing car, I’d had to reprogramme the way I drove. And so when I got in my little Mini, I’d carried on driving it in my newly reprogrammed F1 manner. I’d mounted the central reservation of the roundabout because I had, in F1 style, put the wheel over too sharply. And I’d spun the car because I’d once again put the wheel over too sharply, and braked very hard, F1 style, at the same time. That’s how you spin cars.
The reprogramming fairly soon wore off. Next day I was driving normally again. And I resolved never to climb into a real car shortly after driving an imaginary one. But by then I’d got so good at playing F1 Grand Prix that I could overtake every other car in the field inside 3 laps, and the game had ceased to be challenging, and there was no longer any point in playing it. – which is usually when people stop playing them.
Oddly enough, this might be an example of where you stop controlling a game, and it starts controlling (reprogramming) you.