Video Game Addiction a Mental Disorder, WHO Says

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. put (someone/something) on the back burner / ˈpʊt ˈɑːn ðə ˈbæk ˈbɚnɚ / (idiom) – to not prioritize someone/something

    I put my plans of buying a car on the back burner because I do not have enough money yet.

  2. manifest / ˈmænəˌfɛst / (v) – to become obvious because of signs

    His anxiety first manifested in the form of constant sweating.

  3. ill-equipped / ɪl-ɪˈkwɪpt / (adj) – lacking the skill to do something

    I am ill-equipped to become an athlete because I am physically weak.

  4. indication / ˌɪndəˈkeɪʃən / (n) – a sign or symptom

    Loss of interest in daily activities is an indication of depression.

  5. underlying / ˌʌndɚˈlajɪŋ / (adj) – hidden and hard to discover

    It took five days for the doctors to find out the underlying cause of her headache.


Read the text below.

The World Health Organization (WHO) now considers video game addiction a mental health disorder.

The WHO listed the addiction as “gaming disorder” to the latest version of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The ICD is a guide for doctors and researchers to keep track of and identify illnesses.

As described in the ICD, people with gaming disorder display weak control over the frequency, duration, and intensity of playing video games. They also put their hobbies, family, work, or school on the back burner and ignore the negative consequences of their addiction. To be classified as a gaming disorder, the aforementioned symptoms must manifest in a person for at least a year.

In the United States, treatment facilities and camps for gaming addiction are rare and expensive. The professionals who handle cases of game addiction are ill-equipped because they are only exposed to patients with anxiety and alcoholism.

By adding gaming disorder to the ICD, the WHO is hopeful that health experts will pay more attention to the condition and develop better treatment and preventive measures. Additionally, the organization hopes that insurance companies will be open to covering the costs of gaming disorder treatments.

However, many researchers and mental health professionals are skeptical about WHO’s decision. They claimed that there is insufficient research to support gaming addiction as a legitimate mental disorder.

Some explained that it is dangerous to think that gaming addiction is a disorder in itself. They pointed out that the addiction may be an indication of more serious mental disorders like depression and anxiety. These underlying disorders may be overlooked if mental health professionals focus only on treating gaming addiction alone.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with the WHO’s decision to consider video game addiction as a mental health disorder? Why or why not?
• In your opinion, should the WHO also pay more attention to other tech-related addictions (e.g. social media addiction)? Explain.

Discussion B

• Should video game companies be accountable for gaming addiction? Discuss.
• What can video game companies do to help people with gaming addiction?