World Health Organization Declares Gaming Disorder a Mental Health Condition

World Health Organization Declares Gaming Disorder a Mental Health Condition

Video games are meant to be a fun thing to do to pass the time. But should something be done if video games take over your whole life? On June 18th, the World Health Organization declared gaming disorder to be a real mental health condition. With this new diagnosis, hopefully there will be more treatment options available to help people understand how intense video game addiction can be and that you are not alone.

Video gaming is a very popular pastime. The Entertainment Software Association says that 60% of Americans play video games every day. In order for video gaming to be considered an addiction, the World Health Organization says that video games must have an affect on work, personal life, and family life for 12 months. PEW Research Center did a survey based on people who play games on computer, TV, game consoles, and mobile phones. Six in ten Americans from ages 18-29 have played video games and half of Americans aged 30-59 have played. More than 150 million people play video games and 64% of households have one person playing regularly. While it is a common belief that teenagers are the only ones who play, the Entertainment Software Association says that the average gamer is 34 years-old and 72% of them are 18 or older. Popular types of games people play include puzzle and strategy games as well as adventure/shooting games.

Dr. Shekhar Saxena, the Director of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, says that gamers need to be aware of the problem they have. It can come from either anxiety or depression and video games can be used as an escape from your problems. It is hard to tell if anxiety or depression comes first but it is important to go to treatment for it. He also believes psychiatrists and therapists should be encouraged to provide treatment and for insurance companies to help with the cost of treatment. The treatments available now use the models of anxiety and alcohol. The WHO says that a small number of people who play video games will be affected by video gaming disorder and how important it is to be aware of the amount of time you spend on these games. By avoiding the activities that you used to enjoy or getting bad grades in school or ignoring your friends, that is when video games become a problem.  

Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888 570 7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.