May 26, 2019 3 min read


‘Gaming Disorder’ an Illness, Says WHO

‘Gaming disorder’ qualified as illness

The WHO to enforce the revised framework in 2022

Esports athletes’ health is an increasingly important topic

The 72nd World Health Assembly held on Saturday, May 25, decided that ‘gaming disorder’ is an official illness. The 194-member meeting finalized its Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), adding excessive gaming to the list.

More Fun than the Common Cold, ‘Gaming Disorder’ Makes You Sick

On Saturday, May 25, the 72nd World Health Assembly hosted by the World Health Organizationtook place. During the session, the 194-member meeting revised its International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problem (ICD-11). Originally, ‘gaming disorder,’ was added in June, 2018 and it was described as:

‘a pattern of behaviour characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences’

The WHO also specified what the symptoms were, making a point of how the illness would affect individuals, including ‘impairment in personal, family, social, educational occupation or other important areas of functioning, or in a word – addiction.

The decision was not welcomed by video games trade bodies, including ESA, ISFE, and UKIE, which called or more research before excessive gaming could be classified as a more serious illness. According to the trade bodies, the type of aberrant gaming behavior was akin to underlying mental health issues.

Overlooking problems in one’s personal life could be a big part of games, but it’s not necessarily so. As someone who has experienced excessive gaming, we can understand why someone would choose to escape to another world.

ICD-11 to Be Adopted in 2022

It will take quite some time to see the decision implemented. Officially, the WHO will enforce the 11th revision of the ICD-11 on January 1, 2022. The Organization also pointed out that the inclusion wasn’t random. A growing incidence of the number of individuals to be treated from ‘gaming disorder’ has been key in the final decision.

Meanwhile, professional video gaming also known as ‘esports,’ has been another industry to take mental issues seriously, though more efforts are required. The most famous teams today have wellness instructors and players are monitored as real athletes.

Blizzard introduced changes to the Overwatch League (OWL) to avoid back-to-back games and reduce stress and burnout that players complained of in the first season o the game. While gaming in general seems to cause obsession with the activity, esports are far more intense and stressful to individual which should prompt more attention from professional organizations.

Individuals who have said dismissive things of mental health in the past have been evicted from the esports scene, pointing to a deeper understanding of what esports athletes undergo in terms of stress. Gaming certainly can be excessive, but whether this is a health problem is another matter altogether.

The WHO thinks that it is.

Lead Editor

Mike made his mark on the industry at a young age as a consultant to companies that would grow to become regulators. Now he dedicates his weekdays to his new project a the lead editor of, aiming to educate the masses on the latest developments in the gambling circuit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *