The World Health Organisation has included gaming addiction as part of the beta draft of the 11th update of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). This change will officially recognise addiction to video games; allowing doctors to use it as a diagnosis for treatment.
“Gaming Disorder”, as it is set to be called, is described as “impaired control over gaming”. It’s not meant to be applied to those who simply play a lot of video games. Rather, it applies to those who play games to the extent that it seriously impairs their ability to function as a human being.
Adding Gaming Disorder to the list of recognised mental health diseases is a reaction to how prominent gaming has become. A 2009 study from Psychological Science found that some 8.5% of Americans between the age of 8 to 18 years old showed some sign of video game addiction. China, on the other hand, has been running youth camps to help game addicts recover and return to being functional members of society.
Few studies about video game addiction have been done in Malaysia, making it difficult to judge just how pervasive it is in this country. However, giving healthcare professionals an official classification will go a long way to helping treat the condition.