WHO considers Video Game Addiction a Mental Disorder. What happens next?

WHO (World Health Organization) is considering to add Video Game addiction to the list of mental disorders in 2018. It would be known as a mental disorder. As stated by WHO, excessive gaming addiction can determined by:

  • impaired control in playing  or quitting games
  • Prioritizing video games over anything else
  • Continuing to play games despite the negative effects affecting you

Like all mental disorder affects, it would considered to have an affect on your personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. It would take about 12 months to diagnose game addiction as a mental disorder. ICD-WHO

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What does that mean?


The first effect for gaming addiction would be medical based. Gaming addiction falls under the substance abuse/addictive behavior category. This would include drugs and gambling. More funding and research towards creating drugs/medicine to “reduce” the effects of playing video games similarly to anxiety or bi-polar disorder. Although Gaming addiction falls within the category for substance abuse, the body doesn’t need to detox from gaming sessions. Treatment would be similar to gambling addictions such as therapy groups.


If the change passes then there may be more warnings in games to suggest to players to stop playing after certain hours. The message comes often in MMOs (Massive Multiplayer Online) such as World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV. While parents and adults can find information regarding game addiction online, they have never been shown in game. Gaming stores may face new regulations. Selling a object that falls under substance abuse would have stores need licenses to sell similar to cannabis. There could also be a age restriction for buying video games similar to alcohol.

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Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds (3DS)


Everything is negative when done in excess. Video games are no different. While I agree that playing video games too much can be negative, considering it a mental disorder sounds a bit extreme. There are obvious pros and cons to video games. The effect it could have on introducing video games to all people is negative. If games are considered a cause for mental illness, it would make it difficult to grow the medium and introduce it to new people.



Mental Disorder Definition – WHO

Gambling Addiction Treatment


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