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World Health Organization Adds "Gaming Disorder" To List of Illnesses

Source: Epic Games/Nick Chester

Back in December of 2018, the World Health Organization was considering adding “gaming disorder” to its list of recognized illnesses, and now the organization officially has decided to go on ahead with the move. Could the Fortnite craze be to blame for all of this?

Sure does look like the game is a contributor to this problem.

If you are one of those people whose video game playing takes up their entire day, neglect to do routine things like eat and gets highly upset when you take an L you have a severe problem. The 11th revision of  WHO’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) has officially placed “gaming disorder” next to “gambling disorder” in its list “due to addictive behaviors” the disorder brings.

The “gaming disorder” addition on the list includes both offline and online gaming that points out habits that can either be both continuous or episodic and is described as such:

“Impaired control over gaming […], increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

In addition to “gaming disorder,” another entry included is “hazardous gaming” as “factor” that could influence a persons health status.

“Hazardous gaming refers to a pattern of gaming, either online or offline, that appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to the individual or to others around this individual.”

“The increased risk may be from the frequency of gaming, from the amount of time spent on these activities, from the neglect of other activities and priorities, from risky behaviors associated with gaming or its context, from the adverse consequences of gaming, or from the combination of these.”

You cannot be diagnosed with both illnesses according to WHO.

As you can imagine the video game playing community is not too happy about the news. Reps from the global video game industry which includes US, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, South Africa, and Brazil all want WHO to hit the pause button and change its decision. In a statement, the gaming industry feels WHO reached their decision without “sufficiently robust evidence” and is “concerned [WHO] reached their conclusion without the consensus of the academic community.”

Despite the decision to include “gaming disorder” on the list being agreed upon, it doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2022. So there is still time for the gaming community to make its case to get them to not go through with the decision.

Photo: Epic Games/Nick Chester