Statement on World Health Organization’s Decision to Recognize ‘Gaming Disorder’

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The World Health Organization has decided to recognize ‘gaming disorder’ in the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases) later this year.

This news is a huge victory for those who struggle with gaming addiction or problematic gaming of some kind, and brings us one step closer to being able to provide them with the support they deserve.

This news is also a victory for gamers who don’t have challenges, because they can now game in peace. To recognize this disorder is not to pathologize gaming or further stigmatize gamers, nor is it to neglect other mental health concerns.

It’s simply to recognize that ‘gaming disorder’ has a specific criteria 1 1. ICD-11 6C71 Gaming Disorder × , and when assessed by a licensed professional, those who want help can receive it.

During this time it’s important to acknowledge that one of the main reasons people with an addiction or mental health challenge don’t seek help is due stigma 2 2. “The Benefits of Investing in Students’ Mental Health,” Kognito, 2015 × 3 3. “Colleges Don’t Always Help with Mental Health Issues,” Grasgreen, Allie, 2012 × 4 4. "Problem Gamers' Perceptions and Experiences of Therapy,” Driver, James, 2014 × – the fear of being judged, dismissed, or misunderstood. Recognizing ‘gaming disorder’ encourages those who want help to seek it without these fears.

I have to admit I was surprised to receive official recognition this soon, but grateful to know how many people it will help.

Thank you!

– Cam Adair
Founder, Game Quitters

P.S. For gamers looking for support, grab a copy of Respawn. For parents looking for support, grab a copy of Reclaim.

For additional comments by me on this decision, follow these links: