If you’re addicted to video games then you may actually have a mental health condition. That is at least according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has added “Gaming Disorder” to the latest draft of the 11th edition of the International Compendium of Diseases (ICD).
Ever since video games entered the mainstream people have suggested that this benign hobby can be bad for you. Video games have been blamed for all sorts of things, including childhood obesity, gun violence, and depression. This is bunkum, but gaming addiction may just be real.
Addicted to Playing Video Games
The WHO tracks diseases and disorders using the International Compendium of Diseases. And the 11th edition of this invaluable guide used by health professionals is due to be published in 2018. And according to the latest draft document, “Gaming Disorder” will be making the cut.
In the ICD, “Gaming Disorder” is categorized as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior”. Which may present itself as “impaired control” over the duration or frequency, gaming taking precedence over everything else, or continued gaming despite negative consequences.
There is a difference between being “addicted” and being “highly engaged”.
Just because you play a lot of video games doesn’t make you addicted.
But if your gaming takes the front seat to your health, your family, and your personal welfare, consider the possibility.
— PAXellion (@Exellion_) December 30, 2017
These are all classic signs of addiction. Essentially, you’re hooked, and just want to spend every waking hour playing video games. And this can be at the expense of everything else in your life. And even if it means you lose your job or abandon your family you’ll carry on regardless.
This means the vast majority of gamers are not addicted, even if they play every day. And that’s an important distinction given that the inclusion of “Gaming Disorder” in the new ICD could lead to parents panicking that their children are all addicts. The chances are they’re not. Yet.
Helping Gaming Addicts to Recover
This is still just a draft document, but it looks highly likely that video games will be recognized for their potentially addictive qualities. Which should help health professionals recognize the symptoms and then get the unfortunate victims the treatment they so desperately need.
How many hours do you play video games for every week? Do you consider yourself an addict? Or is gaming just another hobby? What do you think of the prospect that “Gaming Disorder” will be added to the new version of the WHO’s ICD? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Alex Holyoake via Flickr