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World Health Organisation officially recognises “Gaming Disorder” as illness

World Health Organisation officially recognises “Gaming Disorder” as illness

Gaming addiction has been officially recognised as an illness by the World Health Organisation.

The WHO has implemented a revision to the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11), that includes ‘Gaming Disorder’ after the 194 members voted unanimously at the 72nd World Health Assembly on May 25th, 2019.

Though the illness was passed, heavy opposition was shown by the global video games trade bodies such as the ESA, UKIE and ISFE. The establishments stated that further research was needed before the motion should have been passed, with the parties believing the cause could be connected to unrelated mental health issues.

Speaking prior to the classification, ESA president Stanley Pierre-Louis claimed the classification was too blunt a tool and risked misdiagnosing patients with more serious underlying conditions driving their addiction.

The new entry takes effect from January 1st, 2022 after numerous years of debate surrounding the topic.

Impaired control

Under these new classifications, ‘Gaming Disorder’ has been defined: “as a pattern of gaming behaviour (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterised by 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.”

For the diagnosis to take place the pattern of behaviour must be evident for at least 12 months while also significantly impacting upon one’s personal life, education or career.

The official classification can be read in full here.


Staff Writer

Matthew Forde is the staff writer for PocketGamer.biz and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @Forde999 talking about Smash Bros. and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.

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