The Community Responds to Gaming Addiction Being Labeled a Disease
It has finally happened!
After persistent rumors, the World Health Organization has officially labeled gaming addiction a mental disorder, and it's safe to say that the gaming community hasn't taken too nicely to the stigmatization.
And with gaming disorder entering the 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD), here's a closer look into how we got here.
Why Was 'Gaming Addiction' Labeled a Disorder
To understand the reasoning behind the WHO's decision, we must first understand what classifies as a mental disorder. According to the published paper, the disorder becomes a serious issue that must be dealt with once it takes precedence over other important aspects of life.
For example, if you prefer to put off eating just to squeeze in another game of Fortnite, or if you go on 10-hr PUBG sessions, medical experts would classify you as a gaming addict. Furthermore, the paper claims that before an official diagnosis can be made, the following symptoms must persist over a lengthy, 1-year period,
- People giving gaming the highest priority over essential aspects of life like food and socializing.
- Compromised motor skills due to frequent and intense gaming sessions.
- The decision to continue gaming even after the negative consequences of this decision become apparent.
The Reaction of the Gaming Community:
Owing to the vague terms used to describe the condition, the gaming community has ridiculed the WHO's decision. First and foremost, gamers are skeptical about the fact that no timeframe was provided for what medical experts consider to be “too much gaming”.
Secondly, as gaming has been labeled an addiction because of how much time people spend on it, gamers have been quick to ask when movie marathons and other such trivial activities are getting labeled a mental disorder.
Lastly, the pseudo-real and in-depth worlds of immersive video games have often offered escapism to people with troubled lives. In particular, people with depression and anxiety use these video games as a crutch to steer clear of negative thoughts.
With the WHO labeling their medium of escape a mental disorder, there are many who worry that they will get stigmatized and ridiculed for playing video games.
The Final Verdict:
We believe that the WHO has made a grave mistake in labeling video game addiction a mental disorder as they're focussing on the effect and not the cause. While it's important to question why video games are so immersive, it's much more important to ask why people feel the overwhelming need to escape in the first place.
Only then, can we have a productive debate about how to approach the unquantifiable world of video gaming. Until that happens, we're just stuck with mainstream media's latest attempt to vilify videogames without actually talking about the real problem!
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And with that said and done, we wish you a happy gaming session! May you get all the Chicken Dinners or Victory Royales that you deserve!