If you’re really addicted to gaming that you give it priority over everything, then you may be sick. This is because the 194 members of the World Health Organization have voted t0 officially recognize Gaming Disorder as a form of illness during the 72nd World Health Assembly.
They plan to adopt the eleventh revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, also known as ICD-11, which includes listing Gaming Disorder as an illness. It will officially take effect on January 1, 2022, though doctors might recognize gaming disorder as an illness even before that. Here’s how they define the illness as:
A pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by:
Impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context);
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. The behavior pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
Of course, global video games trade bodies, including the ESA, ISFE and UKIE, have opposed the measure. They argued that “more research needed to be done, and that gaming disorder was perhaps a symptom of a more serious underlying mental health issues”. Even to this day, many still debate whether it should be treated as a proper illness, along the lines of alcoholism and gambling addiction.
However, the WHO pushed on. The organization also said “The inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 follows the development of treatment programmes for people with health conditions identical to those characteristic of gaming disorder in many parts of the world, and will result in the increased attention of health professionals to the risks of development of this disorder and, accordingly, to relevant prevention and treatment measures.”