Choosing to game over normal responsibilities may mean you have a newly acknowledged disease.
Earlier this week the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted the 11th edition of their International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Newest among the edits and updates, is the Gaming Disorder, a condition where playing video games takes priority over more necessary life functions for health and wellness including attending work/school, socializing, etc.
The ICD has long been the standard for health professionals. As the press release WHO published stated:
It is the diagnostic classification standard for all clinical and research purposes….. The ICD also captures factors influencing health, or external causes of mortality and morbidity, providing an holistic look at every aspect of life that can affect health.
This inclusion of the Gaming Disorder legitimizes the dangers of the digital addiction. Beyond the physical health concerns for anyone that remains hunched, immobile, and often with an elevated heart rate and blood pressure; there are social/emotional concerns as well when the majority of one’s interactions are through a headset and keyboard.
Some experts remain dubious as they wonder why WHO singled out gaming over online shopping, gambling, or web browsing. All of these activities can take as much, if not more, time from someone’s day. However, WHO countered that the data available did not support classifying those other activities as having as much of an addictive quality as gaming.
As a gamer, I did wonder how close I was to being classified as a gaming addict. I found a survey that was developed by academics that took WHOs ICD into account and scored an 11/20 on their scale of criteria. So, higher than most, but not nearing addiction levels. Sounds about right.
Any addiction is serious business. Addiction inherently means you cannot control your impulses. If you need help, seek it.