The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified gaming addiction as a disorder in its latest international classification of diseases list.
According to a draft of the WHO’s 11th International Compendium of Diseases (ICD), ‘gaming disorder’ is defined as: ‘A pattern of persistent or recurrent digital or video gaming behaviour which may be online or offline, manifested by impaired control over gaming onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination and context.
‘It may also be displayed by increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities. The disorder is also characterised by continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.’
The WHO has said that before medical professionals can make any kind of diagnosis, the disorder needs a minimum of six months’ worth of observed symptoms.
If it is made official, gaming disorder will be recognised as a mental health problem this year.
There have been numerous deaths related to gaming over the past few years. In 2015, two Taiwanese men died within three weeks of each other after excessive gaming.
The first was found dead after playing games for five days straight, while the other died of cardiac arrest after a three-day gaming session.