Video game addiction has just been recognised as a mental health disorder
The World Health Organisation has now recognised video games addiction as a mental health disorder
The Video Games Coalition has backlashed saying the WHO needs to consider the benefits of gaming more broadly
It has been stressed however that only a small minority of gamers would develop an issue such as addiction
There are some reports of people gaming up to 20 hours a day, foregoing basic human needs in the process
Video games make up a multi-billion dollar industry, not only do you have the buying and selling of games themselves but you also have gaming events, conventions and competitive circles called ‘E-sports’. All of this however may be causing a new issue in the world as The World Health Organisation has added video games addiction to the ‘Classification of Diseases’.
The WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (the ICD) is an exhaustive index of 55,000 injuries, diseases and causes of death. It has been updated over the past 10 years and is used by medical professionals worldwide. The latest version, the entirely digital ‘ICD-11’ has added video gaming addiction to the list of conditions for the first time.
It describes the condition as the following: "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior" that becomes so extensive it "takes precedence over other life interests".
With over 2 billion people worldwide considered ‘gamers’, it’s certain that some people will take the hobby too far. In some cases gamers play for up to 20 hours a day, ignoring sleep, meals, work, school and other daily activities such as washing.
The WHO’s expert on mental health, Shekhar Saxena mentions the following: "This is an occasional or transitory behavior," adding that only if such behavior persists for around a year could a potential diagnosis of a disorder be made.
The update in the world of mental health however has sparked the Video Games Coalition, an industry lobby group, to stress how its products were "enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide". Adding that games have "educational, therapeutic, and recreational value" and saying that WHO must consider its new addition to the ICD more carefully.
With E-sports continuing to grow however, and the time commitment it takes to reach a pro level in some games, it is likely we will see more and more cases of video game addiction crop up as young people chase a career in the new sport.