Gaming disorder included in the WHO's ICD

Gaming disorder is now an official illness, but probably won’t get you out of P.E.

By which I mean Physical Education, but you’re probably not escaping Port Elizabeth any time soon, either. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently added “gaming disorder” to the Disorders due to addictive behaviours section of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), while research has yet to make a decision either way.

Gaming disorder is defined in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

Basically, the WHO thinks it’s a problem if you are habitually unable to control your gaming habits, despite severe negative consequences for you and those around you, for a period of at least 12 months. This is probably less about your boyfriend ignoring you over a game of LoL, and more about your baby dying due to malnutrition, because of your 10 hour sessions of, since discontinued, Prius Online.

It sounds reasonable enough, but there is opposition to it’s inclusion in the ICD due to the potential for misdiagnosis and abuse. Gaming disorder hasn’t even made it into the DSM-5 (the psychological disorder bible) yet, due to a requirement for further research.

The concern is that there just isn’t conclusive evidence that gaming is the problem. The argument being that the comparatively small number of people that develop concern-worthy behaviours may have an underlying condition that would have manifested through something else, if gaming was not available.


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