The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified gaming addiction as a mental health condition. They revised a disease classification manual, ICD-11, which states that “compulsively playing video games would be seen and treated as a serious medical disorder called “Gaming Disorder.”
Here’s how they define Gaming Disorder:
“Gaming disorder is characterized by 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 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.”
The WHO also released an “informative” video to go with the new classification:
They also explain what it takes to be diagnosed with Gaming Disorder:
“For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.”
Before people get too concerned that the WHO might be overdrawing a line, the report also states that only a small proportion of people who are gamers are affected.
“Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities.”
What do you make of the World Health Organization’s decision to classify video game addiction as a mental health disorder?