WHO Proposes 'Gaming Disorder' as Part of Addiction Diagnosis

Phillip Cunningham
December 29, 2017

"Disorders due to addictive behaviors are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviors other than the use of dependence-producing substances", the gaming-relevant section states.

In 2015, a 17-year-old Russian boy was rushed to hospital and died after falling into a coma while playing video games nearly continuously for 22 days, only stopping to sleep and eat.

The beta draft guidance mentions that video game playing, either offline or online, must be "normally evident over a period of at least 12 months" for this diagnosis to be made.

Medrano understands how addiction to gaming can happen.

However, the American Psychological Association counters this view, finding it to be controversial and perhaps too early to say.

"Like in Asia, China and Japan and Korea there are programs set up for folks that have gaming addiction so that they can take the kid out of the home, bring them into a center, try to get them more balance in their life", said Kjome.


This does not mean that gaming disorder is a done deal: The caveats note that the draft is not final, is updated on a daily basis, and is not yet approved by WHO. Since the DSM-5 proposal, research is increasingly focused on the application of the proposed criteria, as opposed to broadly testing validity and necessity of the overarching construct.

BINGING on video games will be classified as signs of a mental disorder for the first time next year.

In 2016, a group of Oxford researchers wanted to know how addictive gaming can be.

Avid gamer Hannah Jones says video games are more about relaxation.

If you can't control how long you're playing video games, it could be a mental health problem. They can also be addicting.

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