Jun 19th 2018

Gaming disorder is an official mental health condition, but should it be?

It's official now. Video game addiction is a recognized disorder. The World Health Organization (WHO) released its updated international classification of diseases yesterday with "gaming disorder" listed right in it.

The WHO released a draft of their updated classifications late last year. When they did it reignited an old debate on what classifies as a disorder. Some people were happy, and others were not. Some key opponents are the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Both use scientific research to look at the possibility of this being a disorder, and side with the scientific community that is more skeptical. However, the scientific community is also very polarized on this issue with many supporting the WHO decision. Although it is a problem that has only come up in the last 10-20 years so it isn't as well researched as many other disorders.

Games and gamers have long been under the public eye. From being blamed for school shootings, to flat out violence in children. However, a lot of the loud and public outcry had no real scientific footing. With study after study finding no link between games and violence. However, addiction is a different story. There is scientific evidence for and against it, but it is agreed upon that something doesn't have to inherintly be addicting to cause an addiction. Just look at gambling and the psychological sway it can hold over someone.

What do you think? Is it good that the WHO has made gaming addiction a disorder that can be billed and treated? Or do you think this is just adding unnecessary stigma and going to cause a moral outrage against gaming?