The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently included “gaming disorder” in its 11th edition of its International Classification of Disease (ICD-11). The recognition of “gaming disorder” as a medical condition is a result of growing concern pertaining to gaming addiction while some countries had already identified it as a public health issue.
How common is gaming disorder?
Surveys have shown that gaming disorder affects 10 to 15% of young people in several Asian countries and 1 to 10% among their counterparts in Europe and North America.
Do I have gaming disorder? What are the characteristics of gaming disorder?
The condition is characterized by:
- Uncontrollable gaming habit for at least 12 months
- Behavioral change with increasing priority being placed on gaming over other activities to the extent that other interests and daily activities take a backseat.
- Continuation or escalation of gaming activities despite the occurrence of negative consequences such as impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important area of functioning.
What are the health complications associated with gaming?
- Unhealthy diet
- Insufficient physical activity
- Eyesight, hearing or musculoskeletal problems
- Sleep deprivation
- Aggressive behavior
- Impaired psychosocial functioning
Take home message:
It is fine to partake in gaming for leisure but be alert to the amount of time you spend gaming in order to avoid neglecting other important daily activities.
- WHO (2017) Gaming disorder
- WHO (2018) Gaming behavior
- Saunders et al. (2017) Gaming disorder: Its delineation as an important condition for diagnosis, management, and prevention. Journal of Behavioral Addictions 6(3): 271-279