Tue June 19 2018

‘Gaming disorder’ added to WHO’s Classification of Diseases

If you had to take a stab, how many hours do you think you play videogames for a week? Most people will average between 10 and 20 hours, but there are many who will clock in more than that and still have very active social lives.

Well, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has just added ‘gaming disorder’ to its latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases. Yes, it has made gaming ‘addiction’ a mental disorder.

But it has to be noted that there are certain criteria that needs to be met for a person to qualify as having a ‘gaming disorder’.

According to the WHO, “Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour, which may be online or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

So in essence a person has to deteriorate so badly that nothing else in the world matter, except video games. Most people are a far cry away from that, and more than 30 hours a week is hardly enough.

“Millions of gamers around the world, even when it comes to the intense gaming, would never qualify as people suffering from gaming disorder,” explained Dr. Vladimir Poznyak to CNN, a member of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

There is also no need to rush to conclusions. “Let me emphasize that this is a clinical condition, and clinical diagnosis can be made only by health professionals which are properly trained to do that,” he added.

But naturally there are opponents to the addition by the WHO.

Speaking to CNN, Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist and executive director at The Telos Project, said that it’s a little too early for these kind of classifications.

“It’s a little bit premature to label this as a diagnosis. I’m a clinician and a researcher, so I see people who play video games and believe themselves to be on the lines of addicted.” He added that video gaming is “more as a coping mechanism for either anxiety or depression.”