Video game addiction will now be recognized as a mental disorder

The World Health Organization (WHO) may soon include a new addictive-related mental disorder in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

According to WHO, video game addiction, classified as “gaming disorder,” is characterized as an illness where persistent gaming behavior is exhibited, despite its ability to impair in personal, social, educational, and occupational functioning.

The pattern of impulsive gaming behavior may occur either online or offline and traits must be present for at least 12 months for a diagnosis to be initiated; if symptoms are chronic, the duration can be shortened.

“The gaming behavior and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe,” an ICD-11 synopsis reads.

Gaming disorder falls under the class of illnesses categorized as addictive behaviors.

In 2012, the American Psychological Association (APA) published a study linking excessive preoccupation with video gaming to impulsivity and attention problems. The study was led by Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D., of Iowa State University.

“Impulsive children with attention problems tend to play more video games, while kids in general who spend lots of time video gaming may also develop impulsivity and attention difficulties,” the study concluded.

In another study, the following year, released by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, persistent video gaming was found to boost visual attention, but lessen impulse control.

There are many other studies leading up to the ICD-11 classification of gaming disorder that demonstrates a correlation between high-frequency of video gaming behavior, impulsivity, and attention problems. However, despite the WHO announcement, brace for a wealth of new research studies anatomizing this new ICD-11 classification.