Gaming Disorder Could Be A Real Medical Diagnosis Soon

WHO Gaming Addiction
(Image credit: Activision)

The World Health Organization is looking to add video game addiction as a disorder to the international disease database. It's being listed under addictive behaviors and if it's approved in the final pass for the 2018 ICD manual, you could see it pop up in the international health organization database as a legitimate addiction.

The beta draft for the ICD-11 entry is categorized under disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors under the sub-category of 6D11. The entry states that the gaming disorder would be characterized by recurrent gaming behavior whether it be online or local gameplay in an offline capacity -- which means this covers games like Call of Duty just as well as games like Cuphead -- that inhibits and impairs one's control over their life due to gaming. This is described as someone who prioritizes gaming to the extent that the hobby becomes obsessive and takes precedence over basic "life interests" and other "daily activities".

The entry goes on to explain that the escalation of this habitual obsession can result in impairment in social interactivity, family life, educational pursuits, career opportunities and other daily or occupational characteristics in life.

The entry states that it would require at least 12 months of observation for a diagnosis to be assigned.

The entry isn't final, though. As noted in the beta draft proposal for ICD-11, the proposal has not been officially approved by the World Health Organization committee... yet.

The entry for gaming addiction isn't new, however. The entry first made its appearance way back in February, 2017, where it received stark opposition from some scholars and other members of the science and health community, for which 24 of them penned a rebuttal on Research Gate against the inclusion of gaming addiction as a disease in the WHO ICD-11 draft due to a lack of sufficient data.

According to US News, the gaming addiction as a disorder entry was being heavily pushed for and lobbied for inclusion by certain Asian countries. The specific countries aren't listed but it's easy to assume that South Korea might be one of them due to how strict they are when it comes to video games. They have curfews for kids under 18 when it comes to how long they're able to play games, as well as all sorts of other restrictions when it comes to allowing kids to game. This is due to the fact that there's a pretty stark trend in South Korea where a lot of young men, in particular, invest their lives in gaming, hitting up the PC cafes even sometimes to the point of playing until they die. South Korea's government responded by opening up rehabilitation and re-education centers, some of which are militarized, in order to break their addiction.

It seems odd that Korea would have such strict policies on gaming given that the country produces some of the best eSports players in the world for games like StarCraft II, Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Dota 2.

Nevertheless, despite the entry not being finalized, the mere suggestion of video games as a form of addiction has kicked up enough of a fuss to get a lot of people talking about video games and the pros and cons it brings with it in life. We'll have to wait to find out if the WHO actually add video game addiction as a disorder for the ICD-11 manual.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.