The World Health Organisation has released its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Among these new classifications is official recognition for ‘gaming addiction’ which covers an unhealthy obsession with playing video games.
Gaming addiction is described as having three signs:
- 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.
- Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
That said, the handling of the classification has received some criticism. With experts believing that the warning signs described being too broad and subjective. Potentially leaving mental health workers to interpret without much in the way of actual guidelines.
It certainly looks like the disorder is being described by people who are not entirely familiar with video games. Especially with how some games use specific conditioning techniques in order to get players continue playing games and spending more money.
However, video gaming addiction appears to be treated in a similar way as how the WHO described a gambling addiction. Using much of the same language and outline.
If anything, this could likely lead to game addicts actually getting the help they need. There is no doubt that there are people who are likely to end up addicted to playing games, although this is more likely a symptom of some other issue.