The World Health Organisation could classify video game addiction as a disease

  • Kobe Tong

We all have that one mate who spends far too much time on FIFA 19.

No matter how frustrated they get with the game, they just can’t resist going back for more the next day and broken controllers usually follow in tandem.

However, for some people, playing video games on such a regular basis is no laughing matter and cases of people becoming ‘addicted’ have increased in recent years.

Perhaps the most famous example comes from China, where certain ‘boot camps’ have been established to tackle technology addictions and specifically digital gaming.

Such developments have invariably been met with skepticism and the idea of people being rehabilitated for spending so much time gaming certainly seems a little alien.

Video game addictions

Nevertheless, the topic is about to become a major topic of discussion for the World Health Organisation – an arm of the United Nations – in what could be a landmark vote.

A recent report from the Telegraph has revealed that WHO will vote next week on whether video gaming addictions should be considered an official disease.

There is growing evidence to suggest that prolonged periods of gaming can leave participants in psychological distress, particularly from games such as Fortnite.

WHO to stage gaming vote

It’s a statement backed up by MRI scans that have identified links between video game addiction – which has a similar effect on children’s brains as drug addition – and mental health problems. 

As a result, WHO are taking the issue incredibly seriously and next week will see them vote on whether video game addiction should be ‘upgraded’ to the status of a disease.

If voters do decide on the new classification, it could result in a backlash from the International Game Developers Association who have previously expressed disagreement.

Companies like Microsoft are trying to combat growing worries by giving parents more control of their child’s gaming habits.

It was also suggested by the BBC earlier this year that playing 20 hours a week means somebody is classified as ‘addicted.’

This isn’t the first time that gaming has been discussed by WHO, having already deemed the problem as a ‘medical disorder’ during a revision of the International Classification of Diseases.

The organisation currently define the problem as a ‘pattern of gaming behaviour characterised by impaired control over gaming’ that can have ‘negative consequences’ in other areas of life. 

Regardless of whether it becomes classified as a disease, the previous ‘disorder’ ruling has already prompted a governmental response.

Parental demand led to the NHS announcing their very first gaming addiction centre, although children are having to wait for treatment as the project is facing substantial delays.

The Telegraph also note in their report that a number of gaming addicts believe their life would be ‘falling part’ if it wasn’t for the help of private rehabilitation centres.

News Now - Sport News