Gaming disorder officially recognized as disease by World Health Organization

The 194 members of the World Health Organization have recognised ‘gaming disorder’ (ICD-11) as an illness at the 72nd World Health Assembly.

The WHO added gaming addiction as a disorder in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases in June 2018. It’s defined as “a pattern of gaming behavior 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, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

The illness was met with opposition by the global video games trade bodies, including the ESA, ISFE and UKIE, which highlighted contradictory research and statements on the subject. The argument from the trade bodies and its members was that more research needed to be done, and that gaming disorder was perhaps a symptom of a more serious underlying mental health issues.

While the adoption of the ICD-11 has been officially agreed upon, it won’t actually come into effect until January 1, 2022, so the gaming industry still has a few years to make its case.