WHO: Gaming Disorder is officially a diagnosis
The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that gaming Disorder is an official diagnosis. According to the WHO, the prerequisites for the diagnosis are that the gamer loses control and prioritises gaming over other activities over time, and continues to game even if it has negative consequences.
“The decision by the WHO can provide gamers with a better treatment offer. We must, however, be mindful of stigmatising children and the young who game as a leisure activity,” Director of the Norwegian Media Authority, Mari Velsand, comments.
WHO presented a proposal to make «Gaming Disorder» (dataspillavhengighet) an official diagnosis last summer. The 194 member states recently voted in favour of the proposal.
“An official diagnosis can make it easier for the specialist health service to prioritise better relief efforts and skills enhancement among professionals. There is thus a greater chance of picking up gamers whose serious problems turn into an addiction,” Velsand explains.
Warns against stigmatisation
Figures from the Norwegian Media Authority’s «Children and the Media Survey 2018» show that 63 per cent of girls and 96 per cent of boys aged 9-18 are gaming. In other words, gaming is a leisure activity that most people are exercising during childhood and adolescence.
“Although some children and adolescents game a lot periodically, this does not imply that they are addicted. This diagnosis must be used with caution,” Velsand emphasises.
“In many cases, where children and young people game so much that it affects daily life, it turns out to be other reasons behind. Gaming becomes a symptom, showing that something is wrong. Often, these periods can be limited to a phase of life. It peters out without the problems being of such a nature that there is speak of addiction for most,” Velsand concludes.
Must have serious problems over time
To be diagnosed with Gaming Disorder, the following three criteria must be met over a period of at least 12 months:
- Lack of control over gaming with regard to, for example, frequency, intensity, duration and ability to quit
- Gaming is given priority over other normal activities and interests in life
- The Gaming continues or increases despite negative consequences to normal everyday activities such as school/job, family and social life.
The diagnosis is implemented as of January 1st, 2022.