Gaming Disorder Is Now A Disease, According to World Health Organization

Today, the World Health Organization adopted a revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. What does this have to do with gaming? Well, for the first time ever, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems now includes "Gaming disorder," which is considered to be an addictive behavior disorder, thanks to said revision.

More specifically, "Gaming disorder," is listed as ICD-11 after "Gambling disorder" in the "mental, behavioral or neurodevelopmental disorders" section. And it basically reads just as "Gambling disorder" reads. According to WHO, "Gaming disorder" is "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior, which may be online or offline." In other words, you can suffer from it whether you're playing games by yourself or with a group friends.

If someone suffers from "Gaming disorder," then they may exhibit "impaired control over gaming," and prioritize gaming to an extent that it takes precedence over other life interests and the individual's health. The text outlines that someone with "Gaming disorder" will ignore the negative consequences of their gaming habits. A lot of this is a long-winded way of saying "Gaming disorder" is someone who suffers from video game addiction, which can erode at the quality of someone's life in ways similar to other unhealthy addictions, like gambling.

As you may know, many organizations have come out against the motion. Notably, the Entertainment Software Association, which called the inclusion of "Gaming disorder" in ICD-11's text as reckless, and claimed that it "trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder."

There's been speculation from some medical health professionals that the misguided diagnosis is the result of political pressure from counties like China and South Korea, which have been tackling gaming addictions with various policies. However, WHO has denied this.

Of course, there's no law backing the ICD. However, it's influential not only in the healthcare world, but more importantly, to people who make policies based around public health.


Anyway, as always, feel free to leave a comment letting us know what you think. Should "Gaming disorder" be considered an addictive behavior disorder?

Thanks, Polygon.