Video Game addiction is to be officially recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an actual disorder for the first time.
The term “Gaming disorder” will make its debut appearance in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) later this year.
“Hazardous gaming” and “gaming disorder…due to substance use or addictive behavior” will, (according to a newly proposed draft update of its widely used International Compendium of Diseases) will shortly become a reason for medical or psychological intervention.
The listings, which are to be finalized later this year, have also renewed a debate about whether an addiction to playing video games can ever be compared to substance abuse to cross the line between casual pastime and harmful addiction, or physical disability.
No, it’s only January.
The ICD-11 is one of the most widely-used diagnostic manual’s used in modern medicine. The guide was last updated in 1990. The guide contains lists and descriptions of diseases, syndromes, and disorders, and includes signs and symptoms that are routinely by doctors and other health researchers for diagnostic and treatment purposes.
According to New Scientist, specific criteria will be used by professionals in order to assess whether a person is suffering from a gaming disorder. The new version of the WHO manual will suggest that abnormal gaming behavior should be in evidence over a period of at least 12 months “for a diagnosis to be assigned” of Gaming Disorder, but also added that the period of diagnosis could be shortened “if symptoms are severe”.
Symptoms indicative of Gaming Disorder include
- impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity, duration)
- increased priority given to gaming
- continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences
The proposed inclusion of Gaming Disorder has generated a huge response. Unfortunately, much of that response has been reactionary and ‘knee jerk.’
Gaming addiction a real issue for some nations already
Some countries have been dealing with some gaming addiction issues for years. South Korea, for instance has laws that ban online gaming access for children under the age of 16 between midnight and 6am, and in China, internet giant Tencent has limited the hours that children can play its most popular games.