The World Health Organization (WHO) officially released the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) on June 18th, PC Gamer reported. The newest revision features the addition of Gaming Disorder. The WHO first described the disorder in a December 2017 update on their website.

Game Industry Biz (GIB) noted that the decision to include the disorder in ICD-11 was “based on reviews of available evidence and reflects a consensus of experts from different disciplines and geographical regions that were involved in the process of technical consultations undertaken by WHO in the process of ICD-11 development.”

What is Gaming Disorder?

According to the ICD-11 “Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences."

It goes on to explain that "The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour 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.”

Should you take it seriously?

I wouldn’t. Qualifiers in the definition like “impaired,” “severity,” and “significant” blur the lines of what seems to be an overreaction to video game addiction. Sitting in front of your TV for 16 hours a day might not be healthy, but that doesn’t make it a disorder.

In fact, if you’re Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins you might do that six times a week and be pocketing a million dollars in a month while other people watch you play.

It hardly seems that playing Fortnite Battle Royale all night is a disorder when it is your career.

In a world where playing with a small plastic toy hooked up to the big pixel screen by a cable is a disorder, a real illness like malaria is an afterthought; after all, you can’t make money selling anti-malaria pills all over the world to parties ignorant of modern medical studies.

The official response from the WHO says “Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital - or video-gaming activities. However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behaviour.”

My twelve-year-old son hasn’t gone outside in three weeks, does he qualify?

If my son had not gone outside the three weeks does he qualify as having a disorder?

He would qualify the same way that just about anyone who eats six quarter-pound hamburgers for lunch qualifies for going on a diet. Your son doesn’t necessarily have a gaming disorder, but perhaps a reevaluation of parenting methods is in order?

Any minor addicted to playing as virtual characters on the toy could qualify for the disorder, but strict parenting is a proper solution to the problem. In 2018 the best way to solve all of your problems seems to be with a pill. You can meet with a psychiatrist and have a Xanax prescription before lunch. Possibly all you'd have to do is say, “I get really anxious when I can’t shoot virtual soldiers in the face with a shotgun for 40 hours a week.” My understanding is that line works nearly every time.

Might as well rush the kids out to the doctor to see what the experts think.

Can we trust the WHO?

We can't seem to trust the WHO - actually one hundred and thirty-eight percent, no, in my opinion. Open up a second tab on your web browser and type “World Health Organization Corruption” in Google and you will find no shortage of scholarly articles. One which can be found on Research Gate is titled “Why the Corruption of the World Health Organization (WHO) is the Biggest Threat to the World’s Public Health of Our Time,” by Soren Ventegodt.

He concludes that “the WHO recommendations regarding medicine in its ‘list of essential medicines’ and other drug directories are biased and not reliable as a source of information on medicine.” A series of hit results citing scholarly work indicates that the health organization has more than a vested interest with major pharmaceutical companies.

Ventegodt goes the extra mile in accumulating insurmountable data against the WHO, so much so, that the credibility of the organization has been called into question. If you decide to do some digging of your own you might spend countless hours diving into the various research articles tackling the corruption and credibility of the organization.

The too-long didn’t-read version

The World Health Organization has gone out of their way to add a new disorder, taking on the world of video gaming by adding Gaming Disorder to the IDC-11. Today it’s playing Video Games, tomorrow it could be driving in the car or singing in the shower. Here’s a disorder for you, and another for your friend.

Video games have an ability to relieve stress for many gamers and can even be the source of a career for a small minority.

If Billy, the obese 15-year-old, wants to grind on the toy and turn pro at 18, it’s hardly any different to other hobbies or sports; but to say that he has a mental disorder attributed to playing video games is blatantly ignorant.

The WHO gets donations from pharmaceutical companies and gets a lot of say as the World’s authority on health matters, giving them the weight to make conditions out of thin air. Pop in the “WHO” and “corruption" into Google and you’ll find all sorts of things you hate to see. The floodgates have opened, and the treatment of disorders will continue to grow out of control.