Skip to content

Video Game Addiction Will Be Recognized As A Mental Health Disorder In 2018

Lindsay Kellner
Contributing Wellness & Beauty Editor By Lindsay Kellner
Contributing Wellness & Beauty Editor
Lindsay is a freelance writer and certified yoga instructor based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a journalism and psychology degree from New York University. Kellner is the co-author of “The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self Care,” with mbg Sustainability Editor Emma Loewe.
Video Game Addiction Will Be Recognized As A Mental Health Disorder In 2018

When will virtual reality start interfering with "real reality"? Many would argue that line has already been crossed, while passionate gamers say that virtual reality often is their actual reality. It's a tricky argument to make: Could one argue that reading too many books falls in the same category? Working too much? What is it that distinguishes video games from anything else—say, social media? The World Health Organization is attempting to further define the differences between passion and addiction. For one, an addicting behavior is defined as one that causes distress and interferes with one's personal functions as a result of repetitive actions to experience the rewards of that behavior. To the WHO, gaming and gambling are the two that warrant separate call-outs.

To that end, the WHO has moved to pinpoint video game addiction as an actual mental disorder in 2018, officially called "gaming disorder." Not surprisingly, there's been a fair amount of backlash both from gamers themselves and scientists in the field who have found beneficial effects from video games. Chris Ferguson, a psychology professor and prominent researcher who studies video game addiction and violence in the media, told CNN that diagnosing someone with "gaming disorder" might falsely diagnose the symptom, not the problem, one of the complications with the WHO's positioning.

Another reason the internet is rebelling against this diagnosis? They fear big pharma and insurance companies will get behind it for financial gain. The WHO's beta draft indicates three types of behavior that would define gaming addiction:

  • Impaired control over gaming (and the ability to not be gaming)
  • Increasing interest in gaming over other life priorities and interests
  • More time spent gaming, despite seeing negative consequences from spending too much time gaming

To be diagnosed, these habits need to be ongoing for at least a year, but they can be "episodic" or, if especially dire, diagnosed in the short term.

To improve mental health, check out the latest research on how working out can pump up your mood.

Want your passion for wellness to change the world? Become A Functional Nutrition Coach! Enroll today to join our upcoming live office hours.

Advertisement

More On This Topic

$49.99

How To Live Mindfully In The Digital Age

How To Live Mindfully In The Digital Age
More Health

Popular Stories

Advertisement

Latest Articles

Latest Articles
Advertisement

Your article and new folder have been saved!