It’s not all fun and games anymore. The World Health Organization (WHO) will make ‘video games addiction‘ an official mental health diagnosis this year.
In 2018, playing video games obsessively might lead to a diagnosis of a mental health disorder.
In the beta draft of its forthcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization includes “gaming disorder” in its list of mental health conditions. The WHO defines the disorder as a “persistent or recurrent” behavior pattern of “sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
According to Mashable.com, “What it boils down to is basically video game addiction — playing games for unhealthy amounts of time and not feeling like you can stop. And when ICD-11 is published in 2018, it can be a more easily diagnosable condition. These symptoms generally need to persist for about a year for someone to be diagnosed with gaming disorder, but in extreme cases it can be diagnosed in a shorter amount of time, according to the WHO.”
Ars Technica points out that the new listing video games addiction as a mental health disorder will “renew a debate about if and when playing video games can cross the line from casual pastime to a harmful addiction.”
Scientists and public health advocates who back the move say that compulsive video-game playing is a discrete disorder that can seriously damage a person’s mental and physical health. But other experts say that classifying a common behavior like gaming as a potential disease is scientifically unsound and might even repopularize an old stigma against gamers.
You may be surprised to hear who is most likely to be diagnosed with a gaming disorder. Forbes wrote, “But if you think that video game addiction is mainly an issue for kids, hit the reset button. As reported in 2009, the average video gamer is a 35-year old man (although women are increasingly playing video games). There are numerous stories of adults losing their spouses and jobs while playing video games.”
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Do you believe ‘gaming disorder’ is a true condition or a ‘junk diagnosis?” Let us know! Generating meaningful dialogue around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!