World Health Organization to Declare Excessive Gaming to Be an Official Disorder

Excessive Gaming Is About to Be an Official Disorder

There’s no denying that as the gaming industry continues to grow, so does the controversy surrounding whether or not games are dangerous for your health. So, can playing too many video games be a mental health condition? According to the World Health Organization, it can be. That’s right, WHO is set to declare excessive gaming to be an official disorder sometime in 2018 for the first time in history.

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The International Classification of Diseases diagnostic manual was last updated in 1990, however the latest version will be published next year and will include excessive gaming as an official disorder. Although the ICD-11 has yet to be finalised, the current draft outlines different criteria used to determine whether a person’s gaming has become a serious health condition. You can find the following description used in the manual below:

“Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) 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. The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.”

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As excessive gaming will be an official disorder next year, it means that doctors, health care workers and insurance companies will be able to use it as a diagnosis. Now, just remember that just because you play video games, doesn’t mean you have a mental disorder. Depending on the game, how often, how long, and where you play it, video games can have positive effects as well. Video games can improve hand-eye coordination, enhancing problem solving abilities, relieving stress, as well as connecting with people.

What do you think about this issue? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!