Gaming Disorder is officially a disease, according to the World Health Organization

By Sherif Saed, Monday, 27 May 2019 13:50 GMT

The World Health Organization has added Gaming Disorder to the list of diseases it officially recognises.

The World Health Organization now considers Gaming Disorder amongst the diseases in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) in its 11th revision. The revision will not, however, take effect until January 1, 2022.

The disease’s official page describes it as “a pattern of gaming behaviour (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized 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.”

In the page, the WHO says the decision to include Gaming Disorder in ICD-11 came after reviewing “available evidence” reflecting a “consensus of experts from different disciplines and geographical regions”.

The World Health Organization first revealed its intention to include Gaming Disorder as a disease in January last year, and a first draft was later put together in June of the same year.

Response from the video games industry remained negative throughout. Following this news, industry representatives from the US, Europe and six other countries put out a joint statement that calls upon the WHO to reconsider.

“There is significant debate among medical and professionals about today’s WHO action. We are concerned they reached their conclusion without the consensus of the academic community. The consequences of today’s action could be far-reaching, unintended, and to the detriment of those in need of genuine help,” reads the statement.

“We encourage and support healthy game play by providing information and tools, such as parental controls, that empower billions of people around the world to manage their play to ensure it remains enjoyable and enriching. As with all good things in life, moderation is key and that finding the right balance is an essential part of safe and sensible play.”

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