World Health Organization Proposes “Gaming Disorder” as New Type of Addiction

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If you’re reading this website, you’re probably a very passionate video game hobbyist. You might also be soon classified as suffering from addiction, according to a new proposition from the World Health Organization.

The global body is proposing a new “Gaming Disorder” type of classification for addictive behavior, likening it to gambling disorder in a beta draft for their International Classification of Diseases for next year.

The current proposition has the diagnosis listed under “disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors,” and is also detailed as “mental and behavioral disorders that develop as a result of the use of predominantly psychoactive substances, including medications, or specific repetitive rewarding and reinforcing behaviors.”

The classification goes on to describe this type of behavior:

“Disorders due to addictive behaviors are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviors other than the use of dependence-producing substances,” words from the gaming section. “Disorders due to addictive behaviors include gambling disorder and gaming disorder, which may involve both online and offline behavior.”

As this draft is in beta form, this doesn’t mean the World Health Organization is ready to label millions of gamers, including myself, as addicts. They could remove it before the final form is approved and published.

How do you guys feel about this proposition from the World Health Organization? Are you a horribly misunderstood addict suffering from “gaming disorder?” Sound off in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: Featured image via South Park

Brandon Orselli


Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive.

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  1. Anon_Amous
    December 28, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Now other people’s taxes can pay for my AAA games.

  2. Envy-Noson
    December 28, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Thank you South Korea and Japan… bunch of dumbasses.

  3. totenglocke
    December 28, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Fuck yeah, now I can get a doctor’s note saying that my company has to let me game during the day!

  4. AnimeFan89
    December 28, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Hey WHO, I think you guys have more important things to worry about than the supposed “gaming disorder,” seems like an attempt to divert attention away from more important issues that are actually worth giving a shit about.

  5. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    December 28, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    I don’t need anyone to tell me that I’m an addict. I know that I am. It’s for me to deal with.

  6. Fear Me I Am Free
    Fear Me I Am Free
    December 28, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    I mean, I could see it being a thing. There have been people who died because they gamed for too long without rest. Though, I do think SJWs will broadly misuse it.

  7. TT
    December 28, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    what isn’t bad when done in excess?

  8. goodbyejojo
    December 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    this is just a new form of modern gaming bashing, since their “violent games are turning your into a killer” shtick fell tru, they found a new way of stigmatizing gamers.

  9. Uncle Ocelot
    Uncle Ocelot
    December 28, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Not only are we sexist, racist nazis, but we’re mentally ill! I wonder if any of the you-know-whos will make use of this to try and degrade gamers while simultaneously advocating for mental health acceptance? Kind of a silly question, really.

  10. Uncle Ocelot
    Uncle Ocelot
    December 28, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Add being a weeb to the list and you can fully live the NEET dream.

  11. chaoguy
    December 28, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    If this is applied as it is with other addiction- where the person chooses it over self improvement, self preservation, social interaction, and food/sleep on a regular basis (possibly originally as a coping mechanism for trauma or loneliness) then fine, I approve of it.

    But you KNOW thanks to how our hobby is under attack, this will be used as a big stick by some. “Make your media how WE want it, and let US control it, or we’ll devastate the whole industry by getting you officially branded as insane.”
    Not that the WHO would willingly be part of that, but every org has a few maggots that kowtow to the modern left and SJWs. Extremes could include;
    – Specific types of games are treated more harshly then others. Wasting thousands on a freemium game is fine, but a binge of a violent or “sexist” game is cause for concern. Games don’t change how sane people behave in real life- this has been proven. But if you claim the person is not sane, then you can get the game out of their hands and limit creative freedom. Put the cart before the horse.
    – Limited gaming hours online a’la South Korea. Or even banning use of internet gaming after specific times. Go on, watch TV instead.

    While I’d usually say we should wait and see what the classification says before getting pitchforks, SJW are going to try and make this their weapon. So we need to hit first.
    Emails work. Contact them:
    Ask them how is the classification going to work in detail.
    Will it be case by case?
    Will the content of the game ever change the diagnosis for an individual?
    Will a person ever be committed under metal health acts of various nations if they are deemed a gaming addict- or should such action only be taken due to root causes (depression, trauma, etc)?
    Will those who spend large amounts of money via lootboxes or in-game stores be considering a gaming addict much like a gambling or shopping addict, or does the classification only cover hours played?
    If your hobby has addicts according to them, it’s your duty as a consumer to ask the outsider what they think constitutes as “too much”- and correcting them when they are wrong.

  12. Audie Bakerson
    Audie Bakerson
    December 28, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Watch how this works with “Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes a determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that you are a danger to yourself or to others or are incompetent to manage your own affairs) OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution?”

  13. Neojames82
    December 29, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Here’s the thing, ANYTHING can become an addiction; sexual; alcohol; drugs, etc. I mean, there are probably a few rare cases that do play games and probably get lost in that world, no doubt. However, as others below have stated, I’m pretty sure the misinformed and opportunistic assholes will use this as a weapon against gamers within a heartbeat.

  14. orbo
    December 29, 2017 at 12:34 am

    I saw talk of this somewhere else and it was linked to an article talking about playing video games for twelve hours straight.
    We all know how sensationalist they like to be about things we like, but to be fair if you do play games for twelve hours straight and it’s a regular thing then you probably do have some problems.

  15. Mr0303
    December 29, 2017 at 2:34 am

    And I wonder if some AAA publishers are abusing this addictive behaviour with shitty business practices? If the rating boards don’t get their shit together government legislation seems more and more likely.

  16. BFG
    December 29, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Being a tranny and cutting off your dick apparently

  17. Donwel
    December 29, 2017 at 3:50 am

    “or specific repetitive rewarding and reinforcing behaviors”
    Can’t that be used to describe pretty much anything that people do for entertainment? Or even exercise for that matter.

  18. VersVlees
    December 29, 2017 at 4:36 am

    They actually do. They have a army of psychologists that help out the developers/publishers making the loot box and progression system addicting as possible. The fancy colours and sounds you see in every game when opening loot boxes even that has it’s root on preying on the human psyche.

    Its lab rat press button get treat levels of manipulation and the gamer is the rat.

  19. Mr0303
    December 29, 2017 at 4:39 am

    It was more of a rhetorical question, but sure.

  20. Kiryu
    December 29, 2017 at 4:48 am

    Can we ad sjw activism as a mental disorder then?

  21. CyborgNinja
    December 29, 2017 at 4:59 am

    It’s no secret that video games can be addictive, but to classify it as a disorder is too harsh.

  22. GamesGoodMeGood
    December 29, 2017 at 5:32 am

    While I’d usually say we should wait and see what the classification
    says before getting pitchforks, SJW are going to try and make this their
    weapon. So we need to hit first

    Get the pitchforks out now.

    There’s no point in waiting to see what happens or waiting for the completed classification documents, we all know that it’s going to be anti-gaming and anti-gamers, using the most biased and negative methods possible. Always remember that these kinds of classifications and definitions are made to try and paint people who play games as “ill” using all the tricks they have. There will be nothing “neutral” about it.

  23. Sean Sharpe
    Sean Sharpe
    December 29, 2017 at 5:44 am

    It’s really fucking weird to me that some people are taking this as a personal attack… I mean, pornography addiction has been recognized as a thing… I’m actually genuinely surprised it too this long.

  24. GamesGoodMeGood
    December 29, 2017 at 5:53 am

    This is worrying.

    Because if this passes (and it will, because not enough of us will do anything about it or give a s*it about it), it means that SJWs can use it to further their agendas of “racism”, “sexism” and “violence” in video games.

    If an SJW screams “this is sexist/racist” about something in a video game, she/he can then point to the fact that gaming has already been officially branded a disorder/illness, and then go on to spew the garbage about how the addiction causes bad behavior, sets sexist/racist (only against women and non-white people of course) behavior, etc… the classification basically gives them quite a strong ammo.

  25. Sean Sharpe
    Sean Sharpe
    December 29, 2017 at 5:58 am

    People have been saying that pornography is sexist/misogynistic for a long time now. Pornography addiction has been considered a thing for a really long time. There’s a long debate over pornography’s effect on the brain…

    Porn still exists. So does alcohol. So do prescription drugs.

    People will on the authoritarian left and right will both use shit like this as ammo… But it’s not going to change anything.

  26. GamesGoodMeGood
    December 29, 2017 at 6:25 am

    But it’s not going to change anything.

    We will see what happens. I’m not going to stick my head out and say that just yet.

    But it might result in indirectly bolstering censorship in video games for the reasons I described in my post.

    And in case you say “but porn hasn’t been censored!”, well that’s because porn is a classified as an Adult entertainment medium which ALL of it is strictly for adults.

    Video games however, are varied for all ages and has various age ratings. Socially, most normies and parents view video games as family entertainment and entertainment for children. There is a grey area when it comes to video games.

    Alcohol is aimed at and only sold to adults. And (in my country) only adults can get prescription drugs.

  27. ProxyDoug
    December 29, 2017 at 7:35 am

    This crap never stops.

  28. Bashtarle
    December 29, 2017 at 9:07 am

    You mean peoples taxes can pay for your retro indie pixel art rougelike voxel walking simulator to ween you off your AAA addiction.

  29. SinkingSage
    December 29, 2017 at 9:43 am

    More South Korea’s fault than anyone else’s, Japanese are too busy working.

  30. TheOnceAndFutureKing
    December 29, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Addiction is mostly an illusory term. For example, most chronic masturbators are the way they are because of a bigger problem(depression etc), not because the act itself is so addicting.

  31. VersVlees
    December 29, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Ah I see i wasnt reading between the lines.

    Still AAA are devious for stooping so low like this. This is way beyond crappy horse armour dlc.

  32. Marc Duarte
    Marc Duarte
    December 29, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Addiction is just another word for hobby.

    After reading this article, I played a game for four hours straight. If this is considered a mental illness, then I don’t mind being inflicted with it. There are more harmful activities you can do, like smoking or drinking.

  33. iswear12
    December 29, 2017 at 11:29 am

    >its not going to change anything?
    If you’re living in the U.S. you might not be aware but shit is fucked in Europe, especially the U.K.
    They’ve banned numerous types of porn. (hell they’re putting people in jail over offensive facebook posts)
    Loli porn is considered child porn in Canada.

    Germany censors games with swastikas, nazi imagery and whatnot and forces stores to comply or be unable to sell there
    Shit is more fucked than you realize m8.

  34. iswear12
    December 29, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Are you forgetting Japan came up with the concept of Gacha and are currently raking in the dosh?
    Japan’s males are also checking out: did you forget how suicidal the average salaryman was over there? Not only that but Japanese women are starting to act more like western women and japanese men are getting sick of it

  35. Eldhin Shichiou
    Eldhin Shichiou
    December 29, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    We all already know this; As any other stuff consumed/done in excess, without self control, it’s bad and potentially dangerous. Period.

  36. daplayer42
    December 29, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Because dysphoria is apparently not a real thing, next your gonna tell me depression is make believe as well.

  37. Snorlaxation
    December 29, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    still whining, I see.

  38. Snorlaxation
    December 29, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    they may want to start with japan and their cafes. Haven’t there been lots of people that have gone missing only to be found living in those places gaming nonstop?

  39. Cubed Grapes
    Cubed Grapes
    December 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    People have died playing at those cafes

  40. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    December 29, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    >Loli porn is considered child porn in Canada

    Maybe because it is?

  41. SinkingSage
    December 29, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Huh? Gaming is the bandage, not the wound. Women and work culture caused this, not videogames.

  42. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    December 29, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    It’s more than just that. Not just find room for four hours of game time. More like rearranging or stunting your life for the sake of game time. I’m about to be “separated” from my job of 15 years because I failed to promote. I was contenpt with punching in and out everyday without climbing the ranks, instead of studying at home, working on extracurricular projects, and moving ahead of my peers. Instead, I focused most of my energy outside of work to video games. (Thank God I had some reserved for the family.) I’ve missed deadlines, failed to pay the mortgage on time (“I’ll pay later tonight after a few more hours of this game. Aww it’s too late now. I’ll pay tomorrow. I’ll pay the day after that…” Couldn’t even break away for 10 minutes to handle a simple task online. Or do it before jumping on a game. Just had to get to that game as soon as I could. I’ve gone to work on 2 to 3 hours of sleep on a regular basis because I wouldn’t stop playing. Etc..)

    Some will say that there might be other underlying issues and maybe there are, but I have hard time believing that I would cope with whatever it is by excessively consuming other “hobbies” if I never got into video games. Its been an obsession of mine for over 30 years. That’s just me though and I’m weak that way. I don’t blame anybody and don’t expect any hugs. Any that come my way, I’ll flat out refuse. I think in one form or another, this is a real issue. But nobody should be blamed for it. It’s all about self control and I don’t have it when it comes to video games. That all adage about “one more turn” in Civilization? That’s become a big part of my life. Again, I don’t expect sympathy. Just needed to get that off my chest.

  43. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    December 29, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I wonder if chronic masturbators are constantly thinking about masturbating when they’re in situations where they can’t do the deed. (Honest question. I don’t know.). I know when I’m no able to play games, I’m almost always thinking about them, reading about them on my phone or watching videos, and commenting on them. And with the right people (and sometimes not) always talking about them.

  44. Z3DH
    December 29, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    That is the sum of it. Welcome to dystopia.

  45. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    December 29, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    I do have a problem with children being sexualized, actually.

  46. BFG
    December 29, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    You bet I’m gonna whine when this “tranny acceptance” gets pushed into education by teaching kids it’s okay to be mentally defective and legalize mutilation (not to mention taking away kids from their parents if they ever disagree with the curriculum, see Canada for instance). Especially with teens that have to deal with hormonal changes in the first place, so this shit is only pushing them farther into suicide

  47. BFG
    December 29, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    And yet, depression isnt something that is encouraged unlike the other, despite both of them are states of mind that impair on your well-being

  48. BFG
    December 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Loli porn isnt my thing either but I dont see how (japanese) cartoon drawings are harmful

  49. TheOnceAndFutureKing
    December 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    From what I’ve heard, a lot of chronic masturbators biggest problem was boredom, so they tried to resolve this with jacking off due to the intense dopamine rush giving them that sense of accomplishment.

    Once they found other stuff to occupy themselves with, they jacked off way less.

  50. Snorlaxation
    December 29, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    pushed into education?
    It’s bathrooms. Hardly a subject taking place between math and english class.
    Yes, I’ll admit that what canada decided is crossing too far for my tastes, and I think it should also be too far for most people, but you’d be surprised how often it’s not the parents but the kids, growing up and going through those teenage changes that feel the strongest about transitioning.
    Although it’s not always the case, but when those feelings don’t go away, aren’t just a phase, until they do transition? Then it’s not mental illness.

    if you can’t fake not caring about people you might not meet, and who aren’t having a large affect on the world at large, that’s your malfunction.
    I sincerely hope you don’t simply accept, or worse, condone, the murder or attacks against people like that just because you think they’re different, otherwise there’s definitely a need for you to go see someone.

  51. Zombie_Barioth
    December 29, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    I don’t know about going ‘missing’, but people have been known to live out of them due to being cheaper than renting an apartment, and can be paid by the week which is nice for temp workers.

    This isn’t just limited to Japan though (not the live-in thing), its a big problem in China and Korea too, people dying after playing for 12+ hours nonstop.

  52. Ace
    December 29, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Definitely agree with this. They have disorders/labels for other types of addiction such as alcohol and gambling; gaming is no different.

  53. GamesGoodMeGood
    December 29, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    How about letting children grow up and discover themselves naturally instead of brainwashing teaching them that cutting off their dicks or sticking their dicks into other men when they become adults is the greatest thing ever?

    I sincerely hope you don’t simply accept, or worse, condone, the murder
    or attacks against people like that just because you think they’re
    different, otherwise there’s definitely a need for you to go see

    Funny that, because the SJW / LGBTQ community could do with that advice these days.

  54. David Curry
    David Curry
    December 29, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I guess us gamers need powerful lobbyists to remove our disorder from the International Classification of Diseases. Worked for other disorders.

    December 29, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    SJW, LGBTQ and feminists are just nazis in-diguise, really. Or commie. I lean more towards nazis with how they are behaving.

  56. GamesGoodMeGood
    December 29, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I posted this elsewhere but I’ll repeat it:

    Children, at their young age, are the most vulnerable to being influenced and indoctrinated, because they do not have the capability to inform themselves nor make informed decisions.

    Therefore, the Leftist SJW parasites in most of the Western and European
    government takes advantage of this by setting education guidelines to teach children that cutting off their dicks or sticking their dicks into other men when they become adults is the greatest thing ever. You know, indoctrinate them while they’re young and vulnerable and cannot decide for themselves.

    These people, the teachers who teach it, and anyone who defends these ideas and practices, should be taken outside and f*cking shot.

  57. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    December 29, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Yeah. See, I don’t think it’s anywhere the same as me when it comes to my addiction (compulsion, obsession, reliance on) with video games. It burned me in ways, yet I’m kinda sorta cool with it.

  58. TheOnceAndFutureKing
    December 30, 2017 at 12:30 am

    I can’t really judge cause idk you personally, but if you’re treating games as a form of self medication, then its not the games that are the problem.

  59. combat
    December 30, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Yes, exercise addiction is a thing as well

  60. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    December 30, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Never said that they are. Nor am I willing to admit that games are even a form of medication at this point. That can only be conjecture at this point. See my post/response above.

  61. Heresy Hammer
    Heresy Hammer
    December 30, 2017 at 1:21 am

    “It’s bathrooms. Hardly a subject taking place between math and english class.”
    It’a called slippery slope.

  62. LazyBoy
    December 30, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Just put “BBC” on one of the angry character on this cartoon and it’s perfect.

  63. LazyBoy
    December 30, 2017 at 6:36 am

    When they will state a “Social Network Disorder”, considering how addictive, time consuming, unproductive it is and how people behave on them?

    I guess people at the WHO are too busy sweeping Facebook videos at the moment to start considering this.

    edit: to think about it, social networks are way more harmful than games.

  64. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    December 30, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Sorry man. Didn’t mean to unload so much personal shit. Love the hobby. And don’t find anything inherently wrong with it. I just take it way too far. So yeah, it seems that I basically am saying that it stems from other shit. I just don’t think it’s as simple as your example. I guess I ultimately agree.

  65. Shiggy Diggy Doo
    Shiggy Diggy Doo
    December 30, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Ur mum

  66. Snorlaxation
    January 3, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    information is hardly damaging to young minds. there’s a difference between informative and persuasive speaking. if there are any teachers trying to persuade children to engage in transitioning or some such issue (like we had with a couple of teachers pushing against trump or clinton in their classrooms) then that’s definitely a line that should be met with punishment for crossing.

  67. Snorlaxation
    January 3, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    My ‘going missing’ comment was actually regarding one particular person I heard about on some youtube video ( i think it was a girl) who basically ran away from home, wasn’t seen for several years, and then was found just living in one of these places, gaming.

  68. Snorlaxation
    January 3, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    last i checked, quite a few people have an inkling that they’re different or gay from a young age. Just hearing about people who are gay doesn’t make you become one.

  69. Snorlaxation
    January 3, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    i certainly hope you’re not referring to that august ames issue.

    As for discovering for themselves, that’d be great, so long as there’s no room for religious figures pushing their own beliefs and rigid ideas on them at too early an age. It was only until looking back at certain things i liked or feelings i had that I realized i was interested in dudes at a young age (by which I mean 6), which research and testimonies by other gay people would reveal is rather common.