WHO designate 'gaming disorder' or video game addiction as health condition

Laverne Higgins
June 20, 2018

The ICD identifies some 55,000 separate injuries, diseases, conditions and causes of death, and is widely used as a benchmark for diagnoses and health insurance.

"Research has been done on how playing video games at high rates of frequency can interrupt other activities in life and can become problematic for a person's lifestyle", he said.

Some 2.5 billion people - one in three worldwide - play some form of free-to-play screen game, especially on cell phones, but the disorder affects only a "small minority", said Saxena.

"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", World Health Organization said.

Even though almost half of Americans play video games, making the jump to addiction is another thing entirely.

Dr. Spector said the new classification leaves a lot more questions than answers, but it does provide people who really need help a chance to get it.

For video game addicts, it might soon be 'game over'. And it warned that people who enjoy video games should be alert to the amount of time they spend at their hobby, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health.

While the classification was first proposed back in December of 2017, it was not made official until June 18th and quickly made its rounds across the internet and the gaming world, along with reaching mainstream culture.

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The handing down of the ICD comes after television show A Current Affair ran a segment warning parents of the dangers of the "addictive" game Fortnite.

"The new catalogue, which still needs to be approved by United Nations member countries, so-called "gender incongruence" is now listed under "conditions related to sexual health", instead of "mental, behavioural and neurodevelopmental disorders"".

"ICD has to keep pace with evolving disorders and diseases, and this is one of them". He said that the move would be a significant step, if it will simply get people talking about the potential issue of the condition.

Brendan Kelly, professor of psychiatry from the Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, was also among those who welcomed the decision by the World Health Organization to classify gaming addiction as a mental disorder.

Are you addicted to gaming?

The new ICD edition also includes chapters on traditional medicine, which never had been classified, as well as a new chapter on sexual health that brings together conditions previously categorized in other ways.

Noting that it has been updated for the 21st century World Health Organization said: "Over a decade in the making, this version is a vast improvement on ICD-10", adding that it now reflects critical advances in science and medicine.

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