Excessive Gaming Might Soon Be Recognized as an Official Disorder

iStock
iStock

Not all addictive behaviors are substance-related. Occasionally, they might involve too many hours on the couch. As BBC News reports, the World Health Organization (WHO) is considering adding gaming addiction to its list of mental health conditions for the first time in its upcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

The ICD is "the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions," according to the WHO, the UN's public health agency. Used by doctors and scholars to identify and diagnose diseases, the ICD provides lists of symptoms and signs for various conditions.

The current edition of the ICD was completed in 1992, and the latest version will be published in 2018. A draft of this update lists symptoms of gaming addiction, including the inability to control one's gaming habits, increasingly prioritizing gaming over other activities, and either continuing to game or increasing one's hours spent gaming even after the all-consuming hobby yields negative consequences. It doesn't include prevention and treatment options yet, according to USA Today.

"In a number of countries, [excessive gaming] has become a significant public health concern," WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarević told CBC News. "There is increasing and well-documented evidence of clinical relevance of these conditions and increasing demand for treatment in different parts of the world."

The debate over video games is often a heated one. Some experts say they can enhance cognitive function and boost problem-solving abilities, while other researchers point out that that gamers have sedentary lifestyles and can experience mental health issues.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which published the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-V, in 2013, hasn't yet provided its own conclusion on gaming. In contrast with the latest ICD draft, the DSM-V classifies excessive internet gaming disorder as a "condition for further study."

[h/t BBC News]

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

SIGN UP TODAY: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping Newsletter!

Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Want to Fall Asleep Faster? Try This Breathing Technique

Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels
Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Struggling to fall asleep can feel like a hopeless battle. It often seems like the harder you try turning your brain off, the less likely it is to happen. One way to trick yourself into falling asleep fast is finding something to concentrate on other than how long you've been awake. For nights when your thoughts just won't stay quiet, try the 4-7-8 technique.

According to Simplemost, the 4-7-8 breathing method is meant to combat anxiety, restlessness, and other enemies of a good night's sleep. The actual technique is simple: Just inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. Like counting sheep, measuring out your breaths gives your brain something to do that isn't obsessing about your hectic day or the day ahead.

Taking slow, deliberate breaths has also been proven to reduce stress. Neurons that influence calmness have been found in the breathing control centers of mouse brains. In humans, deep breathing has long been central to mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation. The 4-7-8 breathing technique functions as both a distraction from your thoughts and a way to combat any anxious sensations that may be keeping you awake.

The next time you find yourself tossing and turning at night, try anywhere between three and eight rounds of this breathing technique to calm your body and mind. And to get the best rest possible, make sure you're settling into the best sleep position for your health.

[h/t Simplemost]