Following the draft proposal last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be holding a vote this week to determine if “Gaming Disorder” should be officially recognized as an illness.
In the WHO’s 11th iteration of their International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), “Gaming Disorder” was defined as “persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour, which may be online or offline” with the following symptoms:
- Impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context)
- Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities
- Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences”
- Is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning
- Lasts for over a period of 12 months or more
The WHO justified the inclusion of “Gaming Disorder” in the ICD-11 “based on reviews of available evidence, and reflects a consensus of experts [after] technical consultations”.
However, members of the gaming industry have spoken out against the WHO’s decision. Entertainment Software Association President Stanley Pierre-Louis claimed that more thorough research needs to be done, as medical experts “have cautioned repeatedly that classifying ‘Gaming Disorder’ creates a risk of misdiagnosis for patients who most need help.”.
In addition, the International Game Developers Association called the move “prejudiced against gaming as a hobby”, saying that “no reasonable person would suggest a similar addiction to television is a mental disorder.”.
The vote will be held during the World Health Assembly in Geneva later this week. We will be sure to bring further updates on the story as it develops.
What do you think? Should “Gaming Disorder” be classified as an official illness? Let us know in the comments below.