World Health Organization declares compulsive video gaming a mental disorder

World Health Organization declares compulsive video gaming a mental disorder

The ICD identifies about 55,000 separate injuries, diseases, conditions and causes of death, and is widely used as a benchmark for diagnoses and health insurance.

WHO has officially declared "Gaming Disorders" as a mental health condition and has defined this disorder in their disease classification manual.

"We come across parents who are distraught, not only because they're seeing their child drop out of school, but because they're seeing an entire family structure fall apart", said Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokeswoman for behavioral addictions at Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists.

This decision by the World Health Organization intends to encourage those whose lives are negatively effected by video games to come forward and seek help.

"The WHO should consider the mounting evidence put before them before inclusion next year of "gaming disorder" in the final version of ICD-11".


Separately, the WHO listed "hazardous gaming", which is when a pattern of gaming "appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to this individual or others around this individual".

Responding to the decision to including gaming addiction, the Video Games Coalition - an industry lobby group - said their products were "enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide" across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms.

The move means that people will now be able to receive treatment for their addictions to video games and that the NHS in the United Kingdom will be able to provide treatment to children addicted to games free of charge.

Saxena said approximately two to three percent of gamers are likely affected by this condition and said many parents should make sure to consistently observe the habits of their children.

"Be on the lookout", he said, noting that concerns should be raised if the gaming habit appears to be taking over. "If (video games) are interfering with the expected functions of the person - whether it is studies, whether it's socialization, whether it's work - then you need to be cautious and perhaps seek help".

Related Articles