World Health Organization classifies video game addiction as a disorder


The World Health Organisation has officially added "gaming addiction" to its Compendium of Diseases.

In the 11th revision of its International Classification of Diseases, the group included gaming disorder as an addictive behavior disorder. This means "gaming addiction" will now be considered as a unique mental health condition, which is likened to substance abuse.

We spoke to one parent who says he isn't sure if he'd classify his son's gaming as a disorder, but did say his son's infatuation with Fortnite is nearly like hypnosis.

For a diagnosis, the behavior pattern should last at least 12 months, though the World Health Organization is proposing exceptions in severe cases. Finally, gaming continues - or escalates - despite leading to negative consequences.

It may be continuous or episodic and recurrent, but the aspects of the disorder are usually evident for at least 12 months in order to necessitate a diagnosis.

The latest hit game, "Fortnite", which boasts having 125 million players who compete and battle each other in order to be the last one standing, reportedly earned $296 million in April across consoles, PC, and mobile, according to Super Data Research.

It is believed that between 1% and 6% of young people are addicted to video games.

ICD-11 also includes changes to sexual health classifications.

The disorder was named in a draft of the upcoming International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Many times, health care companies and insurance companies use the World Health Organization's definitions of disorders to determine coverage for treatment.

World Health Organization recommends that players should "be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities".

There are three major diagnostic features or characteristics of gaming disorder, Poznyak explained.

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. Game addiction however, can result in gamers spending several hours at a time in front of their screens. For example, if they stop socializing with people or going to work. Then, clinicians can recommend a new game to guide a gamer toward more healthy behavior.

Terry O'Sullivan, of Blennerville NS in Co Kerry, said there had been concerns about children's use of video games and apps. The diagnosis is established for cases when the video game addiction becomes a cause of disturbances in personal, family, social and other spheres of lives.