There’s been a push by certain scholars and those within the medical field to add video game addiction to the list of diseases in the ICD-11 categorization. The proposal would make video game addiction an internationally classified disease recognized by the World Health Organization. In a recent report, it was stated that this was actually being pursued and lobbied for by politicians in Asian countries.
According to US News, they reported that the ICD-11 proposal and one of its factors in getting game addiction labeled as a disease was in result of political pressure. Christopher J. Ferguson writes…
“Moral panics can put political pressure on scientific bodies to rush to rash claims despite a lack of solid evidence. For instance, in conversations with one administrator at the World Health Organization, who is considering including potential video game addiction diagnoses in their International Compendium of Diseases, he acknowledged that political pressure, from Asian countries in particular, was one factor.“
The proposal is not being pushed through without resistance, however.
26 scientific and medical scholars have written to the World Health Organization offering rebuttals, stating that the data attempting to classify video game addiction as a disease is flimsy and inconclusive at best.
The open letter from the scholars, which is available over on Research Gate, states…
“The empirical basis for a Gaming Disorder proposal, such as in the new ICD-11, suffers from fundamental issues. Our main concerns are the low quality of the research base, the fact that the current operationalization leans too heavily on substance use and gambling criteria, and the lack of consensus on symptomatology and assessment of problematic gaming.”
The US News opinion piece also sides with the stance that there isn’t enough conclusive data to label video games as an international addiction. However, as it was previously reported in regards to countries like South Korea and their stance on gaming, they’ve already labeled video games as one of the four evils plaguing the country. So it’s not surprising to learn that certain countries in the Asian region would want to further stigmatize gaming by labeling hardcore gaming habits as an international disease.
(Main image courtesy of Redfield)