For the first time, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified video game addiction as a behavioral disorder in the International Classification of Diseases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has just published its draft revision of the International Classification of Diseases. For the first time, this 11th revision includes among the diseases the “video game disorder”, a pathology that is characterized by “an impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences”.
The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the international standard for reporting diseases and health problems. It is used by doctors around the world to diagnose ailments, and by researchers to categorize diseases. ICD-11 will be presented to the World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by Member States, and will enter into force on January 1st, 2022.
“Having consulted experts around the world and having thoroughly reviewed the literature, we decided that this disorder should be added,” said Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction, at the WHO. But he admits that the video game disorder concerns only a small percentage of gaming enthusiasts. For the disease to be diagnosed, it will be necessary that the player’s behavior be of sufficient severity to cause an alteration of all other activities (personal, family, social, educational, professional…) over a rather long period of time, at least 12 months.
“The person plays so much that other interests and activities are neglected, including sleep and meals,” the doctor insists. The disorder can also be accompanied by other mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression.