The World Health Organization has officially announced “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition. This comes as part of the 11th edition of its international Classification of Diseases which was released Monday.
According to an article by CNN, Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse member who proposed the diagnosis described three key symptoms to diagnose the disorder. These symptoms are listed on the official WHO website as follows:
- a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming
- increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities
- continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
These symptoms according to the WHO “may be continuous or episodic and recurrent,” with an official diagnosis requiring 12 months. Severe cases can be handled differently depending.
This has been met with quite a bit of criticism and not just from gamers. Andrew Przybylski, a psychologist at Oxford stated “You could easily take out the word “gaming” and put in “sex” or “food” or “watching the World Cup,” in an article from The Verge. These sort of classifications or symptoms could be applied to just about anything in life and therefore could lead down a rabbit hole resulting in everything being made a disorder.
Regardless, members of the gaming community are already turning the new disorder into a meme with some such as prominent esports personality Rod Breslau stating “i’m collecting disability.”