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WHO classifies gaming addiction as a mental health disorder

The World Health Organization (WHO) that previously released a beta draft of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) with ‘gaming disorder’ included in the list now officially classifies gaming addiction as a mental health disorder.

According to a report by, WHO’s updated 11th edition of the ICD identified and defined gaming addiction as a mental condition.

WHO enumerated three signs to diagnose the condition such as 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

The ICD-11 states that there will be a significant impairment in the behavioral pattern of someone suffering from gaming disorder in terms of personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

However, some members of the medical community are against the inclusion of Gaming Disorder, as well as the members of the gaming industry.

A statement co-signed by the ESA, ESAC, EGDF, IESA, IGEA, ISFE, K-GAMES, and UBV&G explained: “Videogames across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms are enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, with the educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games being well-founded and widely recognized. We are therefore concerned to see ‘gaming disorder’ still contained in the latest version of the WHO’s ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community. The evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive.”

ICD-11 has not yet been finalized and would not be submitted until next year.

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