Why "Gaming Disorder" Is A Biased Title For A Real Problem


If you have not already become aware, The World Health Organization is considering adding "gaming disorder" to the list of mental health conditions in its next update of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). In order for them to successfully claim that  excessive gaming behavior could be a disorder, it needs to meet three characteristics:

  • A person loses control over their gaming habits
  • They start to prioritize gaming over many other interests or activities
  • They continue playing despite clear negative consequences.

If you ask me, it sounds like they want to specifically have the disorder of a lack of self-control and a rather obsessive personality on the gaming community specifically. Shopaholics, TV marathon viewers, and multiple other situations where people put themselves in a predicament "despite clear negative consequences." So, I ask you, why should it be specifically a "gaming disorder" and not "tunnel vision disorder" or "decision disorder?"

They state that "playing too many video games could become problematic if the behavior causes a person's relationships or performance at school or work to suffer," but the same could be said about anything else that you can excessively indulge in. Families have been broken up and lives have been ruined over video games, this I am not denying. My problem solely lies with the fact that they have the biased nerve to call out the gaming community, when there are multiple obsessive tendencies that caused a lack of control in making prioritized decisions.

If they are successful in adding "gaming disorder" to the ICD list, then gaming will be added to a list of other behaviors that can become problematic if people lose control over them. This includes gambling and disorders related to the use of substances like alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, or nicotine. In other words, gaming becomes legally equivalent to substance abuse. That is a fine line that is currently keeping the ability to play games away from law makers, not including the content makers laws.

Are we willing to stand by and let the weight of this "new" disorder on our shoulders while the others with obsessive and self-control disorders get a free pass? I say that the disorder backs off of the gaming aspect and focus on the activity instead!