Do you think your kid (or spouse) plays an excessive amount of video games? Well, the World Health Organization’s 2018 International Classification of Diseases includes gaming disorder for the first time.
According to the draft: “Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior (‘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.”
In order to be diagnosed with the new disorder, the pattern of excessive behavior would be evident over at least 12 months. (So we’re not talking about an entire weekend — fueled by energy drinks — playing “Fortnite.”)
Or as Bruce Y. Lee, an associate professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, writes in Forbes: “‘Gaming disorder’ isn’t a game or the name of a game. And it isn’t when your “Yes” or “Start” button on your PlayStation controller fails to work, your character is really messy and leaves equipment all over the screen, or you are surrounded by microwaved burritos while playing.”
Gaming disorder will join gambling disorder under “disorders due to addictive behaviors” as the only conditions under that heading, according to Psychology Today.