Mental Health in the News: Gaming Disorder

The World Mental Health Organisation (WHO) announced this month that they will be including Gaming Disorder in its most recent update of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) which is due to be released later this year.

So what exactly does Gaming Disorder entail?

Symptoms include:

  • Impaired control over gaming.
  • Priority given to gaming over other interests and daily activities
  • Continued gaming regardless of negative consequences

So how is it diagnosed?

The WHO states that symptoms must be evident for at least 12 months and gaming behaviour must have a significant impact on areas of life such as:

  • Personal
  • Family
  • Social
  • Educational
  • Occupational
  • Other important areas of life

No treatment or prevention has been given for this disorder as yet, but as it is related to other addictive behaviours treatment is likely to take similar forms such as detox.

The WHO states that the disorder has been included in the new revision of the International Classification of diseases in order to raise more awareness of the disorder. It will also allow healthcare professionals to identify the risks associated with the disorder and develop and provide prevention and treatment.

The WHO does make it clear that of those who purse gaming only a very small minority are affected by the disorder. It advises that those involved in gaming should monitor the amount of time spent gaming especially where there is an absence of other daily activities.

Some of the gaming industry has hit out at the inclusion of this disorder with The Entertainment Software association stating it “recklessly trivialises real mental health issues” and suggested the addition should be removed from its classification.

The WHO states that it has included the disorder “based on reviews of available evidence and reflects a consensus of experts from different disciplines and geographical location”.

What are your views should this disorder be included in the categorisation and should it be considered as a mental health issue?



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