"Gaming disorder" now a mental health condition

Leslie Hanson
June 19, 2018

"Beyond accurate labelling, what we actually need is to help parents guide their children towards gaming health from a young age", he said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) published its latest revision of the 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) yesterday, containing its first definition of gaming disorder.

The wording of the new entries has been known since January, when World Health Organization announced "problem gaming" would be recognised as a pathological condition.

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities.

And perhaps the most positive immediate fallout from this will come from folks who needed a wake up call about the seriousness of not just gaming, but other forms of online addiction.

For this draft, the manual lists two kinds of possible gaming disorders. 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".


Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities.

His advice to people who know someone dealing with a video game addiction?

To be diagnosed with gaming disorder, a person's behavior must significantly impact other important aspects of their life, such as their relationships or their ability to hold down a job.

Online and offline "gaming disorder" is grouped with "disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviours" in the ICD's 11th edition, the first major revision in almost three decades. The evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive.

The new ICD-11 is also able to better capture data regarding safety in healthcare, which means that unnecessary events that may harm health - such as unsafe workflows in hospitals - can be identified and reduced, the statement said. The present version also has for the first time a chapter on traditional systems of medicine. Experts worldwide are urging caution regarding the World Health Organization's proposed "gaming disorder" as it may lead to misdiagnosis of real mental health conditions. We are therefore concerned to see "gaming disorder" still contained in the latest version of the WHO's ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community. Previous editions had categorised sexual dysfunction and gender incongruence, for example, under mental health conditions, while in ICD-11 these move to the sexual health section.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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