World Health Organization declares compulsive video gaming a mental disorder

Leslie Hanson
June 20, 2018

The World Health Organization said video game players can become addicted and has added "gaming disorder" to its International Classification of Diseases.

Yesterday, the World Health Organization announced that it had finalized its 11th International Classification of Diseases, and much like the draft did in December of a year ago, it includes the addition of gaming to its section of addictive disorders.

Gaming disorder is one of many mental health conditions that the WHO that have been changed - they have been simplified and diagnostic descriptions have been added.

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. Lastly, gaming will escalate even if there are negative consequences seen. Among these new classifications is official recognition for "gaming addiction" which covers an unhealthy obsession with playing video games.

The document was developed over 10 years and now for the first time was fully published on the who website.

The classification was also lambasted on social media, with users linking the concern about gaming addiction more to moral panic than solid evidence.

'Video gaming is like a non-financial kind of gambling from a psychological point of view, ' said Griffiths, a distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University.


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.

So-called "shooter games" like Fortnite - described on support website Game Quitters as the "hottest game in the world" - are either played online or on offline consoles.

KAMENETZ: Complicating the picture further, clinicians say those who show problems with video games often have a co-occurring condition, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD or being on the autism spectrum. All this could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behaviour.

UKIE already has their own FAQ up about the issue, which explains the controversy and the genuine disagreement in academic circles as to whether gaming addiction counts as a separate disorder.

If you suspect that your child has a gaming disorder, it's important to seek help for it. In its latest revision to a disease classification manual called the International Classification of Diseases, or I.C.D., the United Nations health agency explains the change and why it has (finally) removed the transgender mental disorder classification.

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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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