‘Gaming Disorder’ Is Now Officially Recognised As A Disease By The WHO

Gaming Disorder is now an officially recognised condition in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11), with the World Health Organisation formally adding it to its latest revisions at the 72nd World Health Assembly.

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Gaming disorder is essentially described by the WHO as an addiction, in that gaming can become a problem when it’s prioritised over other important responsibilities and begins to result in negative impacts on a person’s life.

“For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months,” the official WHO description says.

In other words, it would need to have a pretty big impact on your life for it be officially classified as a disorder, but it does bear a lot of similarities to other addictions in that regard. As Polygon points out, Gaming Disorder is listed right after Gambling Disorder and is almost a word-for-word copy of the latter, only “gambling” is replaced with “gaming”.

A number of European gaming industry representatives have called for the WHO to reevaluate the decision, saying it’s not based on enough “robust evidence to justify its inclusion in one of the WHO’s most important norm-setting tools,” they said in a statement.

Of course, the gaming community is split over the decision.

The ICD-11 isn’t based in law, but it can be pretty influential when it comes to health policy and spending around the globe. The revision will officially take effect on January 1, 2022.