Gaming addiction classed as mental disorder

Video gaming is described as 'a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour'

Video gaming is described as 'a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour'

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization added "gaming disorder" to its list of recognised and diagnosable diseases, as part of its 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases.

The United Nations health agency defines gaming disorder as a pattern of behavior where a person loses control over how much they play digital games, to the point where they prioritize gaming above other activities. The man - who died of cardiac arrest after a three-day gaming binge - is one of several gaming deaths in the nation.

Now, there's more weight behind their argument: The World Health Organization (WHO) has including "gaming disorder" as a new mental health condition listed in the 11 edition of its International Classification of Diseases. Gaming disorder has been added to the section on mental and addictive disorders because demand for services to tackle this condition has been growing.

For instance, some people working on stroke have always been pushing for it to be moved from circulatory diseases, where it has been for 6 decades, into neurological disease, where it now sits in ICD-11.

Director of WHO's Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Shekhar Saxena, describes some of the warning signs of addictive Gaming behavior.

Griffiths said playing video games, for the vast majority of people, is more about entertainment and novelty, citing the overwhelming popularity of games like "Pokemon Go".

The video gaming industry is fighting back against WHO's decision, calling their ruling flawed and likely to cause confusion and undue concern.

It's a question you may have asked yourself when you were younger, or may be asking about your own kids now - how much video game time is too much?

Additional criteria for a diagnosis of gaming disorder include that the individual has to have had the condition for at least 12 months before it can be so classified.

"ICD is a cornerstone of health information and ICD-11 will deliver an up-to-date view of the patterns of disease", said Lubna Alansari, WHO's Assistant Director-General (Health Metrics and Measurement).

The disorder was named in a draft of the upcoming International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Game addiction however, can result in gamers spending several hours at a time in front of their screens.

WHO member Dr. Vladimir Poznyak tells CNN, "Millions of gamers around the world, even when it comes to the intense gaming, would never qualify as people suffering from gaming disorder". The evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive. Gaming disorder was considered for inclusion based on scientific evidence and the recommendations of experts around the world.

Latest News