In January of 2018, the World Health Organization began drafting the latest version of the International Classification of Diseases- ICD 11. This international set of medical codes is meant to make it easier to identify specific health disorders across the nation. The ICD-11, which is to be finalized sometime in 2018, will come to include a new class of mental conditions- Gaming Disorder.

Who knew?

How is a Gaming Addiction Classified?

This new revelation is to be included under “Mental, Behavioral, and Neurodevelopmental” disorders, under the subcategory of “Disorders Due to Substance Abuse and Addictive Behavior.” That’s right– global health experts are discussing the idea of excessive video gaming, as being just as harmful as addiction to alcohol, drugs, and gambling.

WHO describes a Gaming Disorder as: “A pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior (‘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.”

So in order to classify someone’s gaming disorder, as a mental health concern, the gaming addiction would have to be so relentless, so as to disrupt the person’s personal or professional life and relationships. They say it takes an observed 12 month period of symptoms to be classified as a gaming addiction concern, as described by the ICD-11’s current draft.

Who is vulnerable to this addiction?

I imagine there may be some concerned parents or family members out there, who are taking this into serious consideration. Given that the world has almost completely 180’d into children spending most of their days indoors, staring at a screen, rather than soaking up some vitamin D in the great outdoors.

It isn’t even necessarily the young children at this point, who may or may not have a categorized “Gaming Addiction”, but also those who are commonly referred to as “Millennials”. A millennial is most often defined as anyone who was born as early as the year 1976 or even as late as 2004 (though there is no official confirmation of the years). Typically, those who are considered to be millennials, are anyone that reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century.

The jist of the idea is that our younger children, and millennials, are growing up in an electronics-controlled world, where the internet and social media are revolved around. Therefore, video gaming as become part of this new generation’s lifestyle. The idea of there being a gaming addiction is scary for many parents, noticing the trends and symptoms as described above by the ICD-11.

According to the research done by the Entertainment Software Association in 2017, more than 65% of American households are home to at least one individual who participates in at least 3 hours of gaming per day.

So is it ridiculous to think that the mass amount of gamers in America are, or could become addicted? Not necessarily, but WHO urges you not to worry so much about that. Studies show that gaming disorder affects only a small portion of people who play video games, but that those who do play often, should be aware of how much time they are spending on gaming activities, so as not to exclude other activities of daily life.


Gaming Addiction as a Mental Health Disorder
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