ESA encourages World Health Organization to reconsider ‘Gaming Disorder’ classification

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As Andy reported last week, the World Health Organization recently listed “Gaming Disorder” as an addictive behaviour in a beta draft of its International Classification of Diseases for 2018. Alongside the likes of gambling disorder, the  proposal lists gaming disorder under “disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviours” with negative “mental and behavioural” effects, similar to those consistent with alcohol and drug addiction.

Now, the Entertainment Software Association has issued a statement that suggests the proposed move lacks common sense and “trivializes real mental health issues”. It reads:

Just like avid sports fans and consumers of all forms of engaging entertainment, gamers are passionate and dedicated with their time. Having captivated gamers for more than four decades, more than two billion people around the world enjoy video games. 

The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive. And, putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community. We strongly encourage the World Health Organization to reverse direction on its proposed action.

Again, it’s worth noting that said revisions to the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases for 2018 are as yet not set in stone. The WHO’s final publication is however expected in mid-2018.