UC Irvine Academics Argue Against ‘Gaming Disorder’ After WHO Proposes It as Mental Health Condition

After learning of the World Health Organization’s plan to add “gaming disorder” to its list of mental health conditions, UC Irvine published a response against the classification, arguing that for a majority of players, video and other games have a positive influence.

UC Irvine's department of Informatics published an online response, noting that the Higher Education Video Game Alliance had found "very little scholarly evidence to support the classification as proposed." (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

UC Irvine’s department of Informatics published an online response, noting that the Higher Education Video Game Alliance had found “very little scholarly evidence to support the classification as proposed.” (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Gaming disorder, according to a WHO draft report, is characterized by persistent or recurring behavior showing impaired control over online or offline gaming habits, giving increasing priority to gaming over other daily activities and continuing or escalating one’s gaming despite negative consequences.

The condition would be included in the organization’s 11th update of its International Classification of Diseases, which is scheduled for publication in mid-2018. The ICD is used by medical practitioners to identify global health trends and statistics and by researchers to categorize conditions.

According to WHO, the inclusion of gaming disorder was based on reviews of available evidence and reflects a consensus of experts from different disciplines.

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