The World Health Organization is poised to classify “gaming disorder” as a mental health problem.
Gaming disorder can be diagnosed if it “is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning,” according to the draft of WHO’s 2018 International Classification of Diseases.
The disorder is not characterized by playing a video game here or there, but rather by lack of ability to control when one games, “increasing priority give to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities,” and continuing to game avidly despite having negative consequences for doing so.
I have mixed feelings about this proposal. On the one hand, I do believe gaming habits can become really unhealthy, but this can also apply to any kind of habit, not just gaming. Creating a disorder specifically for gaming seems like it would only help further stigmatize the activity. So is this classification really necessary? Has video gaming really gotten that bad?