Tag

world health organization

Browsing

Being transgender removed as a mental condition in the ICD-11

The World Health Organization (WHO) no longer classifies transgender as a mental condition.

The United Nations health agency stated on June 18 that “gender incongruence” would be removed from the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) catalogue. In the catalogue, “gender incongruence” is defined as an adolescent or adult who experiences “a strong dislike or discomfort with the one’s primary or secondary sex characteristics […] a strong desire to be rid of some or all of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics […],” and “a strong desire to have the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the experienced gender.” The catalogue added that a diagnosis cannot be given before the onset of puberty and gender variant behaviour isn’t enough on its own to be diagnosed.

The WHO released a video on June 18 regarding the updates to their ICD-11 catalogue and why they made the change. Dr. Lale Say, coordinator of the Adolescents and at-Risk Populations Team at the WHO said, “Historically this concept was placed in the mental health chapter in ICD, but in the ICD-11 it is moved to a newly created chapter of sexual health.” She added that the new chapter is meant to accommodate conditions regarding sexual health that wouldn’t fit in other chapters of ICD-11.

“It was taken out from the mental health disorders because we had a better understanding that this wasn’t actually a mental health condition and leaving it there was causing stigma,” she added. “So, in order to reduce the stigma while also ensuring access to necessary health interventions, this was placed in a different chapter.”

While the move is a giant step forward in eliminating stigma, spokespeople for various transgender groups had conflicting reactions regarding the decision. CNN reported that Julia Ehrt, Executive Director of Transgender Europe said the removal of the term is “the result of tremendous effort by trans and gender diverse activists from around the world to insist on our humanity, and I am elated that the WHO agrees that gender identity is not a mental illness.”

On the other hand, Nua Fuentes, a spokesperson for the Trans Pride World platform told teleSUR that “it is positive, but it is nothing new. Trans organizations were expecting this, and we have been demanding the end of the pathologization of our identities since 2007.”

Dr. Say said that adding the term to a new chapter is meant to reduce the stigma and better social acceptance. However, she also said that there won’t be many changes in terms of healthcare provisions because the category will still have a place in the ICD. “In fact, it may even increase access because it will reduce stigma and it will help individuals to seek care more,” she said.

She concluded by saying the decision stemmed from concerned transgender and human rights communities as well as professionals and scientists in the field. After reviewing the evidence, they removed the term. She added that on the same basis, homosexuality was removed from the ICD completely because “there was no clear evidence to suggest that this issue needs to be medicalized.”

Is gaming disorder a mental condition?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially listed gaming disorder as an ailment people suffer from and would need rehabilitation to cure.

WHO describes gaming disorder as having “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.”

They added that in order for the disorder to be diagnosed, those suffering would need to exhibit a pattern of severe behaviour that would impair their family and social lives or negatively impact their education.

Video game addiction is not unheard of and several cases have popped up throughout the years. A couple in 2010 neglected their child while obsessively playing video games. They were raising their virtual child, Anima, in a game called Prius Online. Meanwhile, their real daughter passed away from malnourishment and neglect. In 2015 a 32-year-old Taiwanese man died after a three-day gaming binge, which made him the second gaming-related death in Taiwan that year.

One of the more recent cases follows the story of a nine-year-old girl who was brought into rehabilitation for her Fortnite addiction. It was reported that she was playing for up to 10 hours a day and had even wet herself during a binge to avoid having to log off. Her mother expressed to Sunday People that she wasn’t aware of how addicted her daughter would be when allowing her to play.

Though WHO and various psychologists believe that gaming disorder is a sensible mental condition, gamers on Twitter were quick to shut the idea down. Many Twitter users and gamers specified how they spend 20 hours gaming a week and how classifying gaming as a disorder opens the door for more unjustified disorders.

Of those to express their concern was American wrestler Xavier Woods. He wrote on Twitter that “If this becomes a thing then it sets a precedent for anything to become a disorder. Reading too much, watching the world cup too much, hanging out with your spouse too much. At this point anything done too much that someone doesn’t get = a disorder.”

Other online personalities like Ben Broman (better known as ProfessorBroman online) wrote on Twitter that “[…] instead of raging at news organizations about reporting on this “gaming disorder” report, offer to educate and inform them about your passion and the good things gaming does on a daily basis. We control the conversation, we must do it in a respectful way.” Various studies have concluded that video games help children’s cognitive behaviour by improving multitasking and external functioning. Studies have also discovered that video games treat amblyopia and helps children overcome dyslexia.

WHO explains that the reason gaming disorder is included in the Revision of the International Classification of Diseases is because of available evidence and the general consensus of experts from around the world. They also warned that those who play video games for excessive periods of time should monitor how long they play and any negative changes to their mood or physical health.