The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially recognised ‘Gaming Disorder’ as a valid mental health disorder with the release of the 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Following this, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has started specialised treatment and it looks like other countries might be requested by WHO to follow suit. Just like before, there is massive backlash from the gaming community. Just read the comments from this Facebook video.
Back in January, I wrote about my view on ‘Gaming Disorder’ and how I believe that the WHO is correct in wanting to classify it as an issue. TL;DR: there have been too many cases of death, addicted children and adult lives falling apart for this to be ignored. While the number of ‘addicted’ (young) gamers is said to be between 1-6%, only 7.6% of alcohol consumers are considered alcoholics in the US and 2-3% of American gamblers have ‘problem gambling’. The latter two have specialised treatment, why shouldn’t ‘gaming disorder’ be the same?
There’s the argument in the community that this is only an issue “because parents can’t control their children”. This issue doesn’t only affect children but adults as well. Our favourite hobby is not “under attack” either. I don’t believe that the video game industry is under attack nor will it ever be. The majority of us gamers will still go and buy games, will still attend events like E3 and will still want to watch and support our eSports leagues. The industry will not die, just like the gambling industry or the coffee industry hasn’t died.
There is a quote from a Medium post I read that encapsulates my thoughts quite perfectly:
“We need to learn about treating gaming addiction accordingly and having people who are actually involved in gaming in healthy ways lead the way to balancing life and pleasure.”
Rather than jumping the gun and raging about it, we should take a moment and step away from how it can affect us and instead think about how it can help others. Being selfless is a tough thing to do, but it is something we need to do. I can only hope that this move by the WHO will bring to light other technological addictions (social media etc), and subsequent classifications can be made so more people can be treated for their issues.
What do you think about this piece of news? Is this something us gamers should really worry about? Let us know down in the comments, and don’t forget to follow us over on our Facebook, Twitter and Youtube for more gaming related goodness!
Featured image credit TechCrunch