‘Gaming Disorder’ Is Officially An Illness, Says World Health Organization

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Are you addicted to Fortnite, PUBG or any other game? If you have a ‘gaming disorder’ then you are officially suffering from an illness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO has decided to add gaming disorder to its list of recognized illnesses. The decision was taken by 194 members of the group at the 72nd World Health Assembly on 25 May 2019.

The 11th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) lists gaming disorder as an illness.

What is Gaming Disorder?

Here’s the WHO ICD-11 definition and characterization of gaming disorder:

WHO definition of game disorder
Image: ICD-11 (WHO)

There are a lot of people who play video games to an extent where they meet many of the criteria mentioned above. However, it is important to note that gaming disorder is a deeper issue than just playing video games obsessively.

Myths about Gaming Disorder

People who play video games for long hours are considered gaming addicts but it is important to differentiate between a disorder and a hobby.

A Twitter thread posted by Dr. John Jiao busts some myths about gaming disorder (also referred to as VGA). He makes it clear that it’s not about hours put into games. When gaming starts affecting other important aspects of life by taking precedence for a long period of time — it converts into gaming disorder.

Am I suffering from Gaming Disorder?

Taking leave from the office just to play a new release of a video game or spending the night inside to play rather than meet friends or maybe skipping a meal because you’re hooked to a game — is fine sometimes. However, if it occurs frequently, then you may be officially a gaming disorder patient.

What about professional gamers and streamers?

As mentioned by Jiao, people who play games for a living, such as video game professionals, streamers, or just intense gamers, who play games for hours and hours; if they maintain a healthy life outside their gaming world, they don’t have gaming disorder.

Issues with diagnosing Gaming Disorder

There is always the possibility of having a gaming disorder wrapped up in depression and it can be difficult to separate the two.

Several gamers get defensive about gaming disorder or discard the theory altogether. This is probably because they haven’t experienced the self-destructive dependence on gaming that actual gaming disorder patients suffer from.

But with the inclusion of ICD-11, people who are actually suffering from it can get proper treatment for this kind of behavior, which is overall a positive thing for the world.

Also Read: Gaming-Focused WonderOS To Allow PC And Console Streaming On Android
Manisha Priyadarshini

Manisha Priyadarshini

An Editor and a Tech Journalist with a software development background. I am a big fan of technology and memes. At Fossbytes, I cover all aspects of tech but my specific area of interest is Programming and Development.

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