Skip to Content

Video Game Addiction Is Now Officially A Mental Health Disorder

In what is only news to people who aren’t parents of Fortnite addicted teens and tweens, video game addiction is now a real thing.

The World Health Organization has officially added video game addiction (defined as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior” that “takes precedence over other life interests”) to the International Classification of Diseases database.

The World Health Organization has officially added video game addiction — characterized by “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior” that “takes precedence over other life interests” — to their International Classification of Diseases (ICD) database.

Video games are a real thing. And they are becoming more and more popular. Fortnite made 3 billion dollars last year. And as this just grows, so does the addiction.

According to the WHO, for gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.

What does that mean? It means in order to be diagnosed with gaming disorder, you need to be a video game zombie for at least a year before it’s considered an actual problem.

Are video games bad?

No, not most of the time. Over 2 billion people play them and only a tiny percentage will ever be addicted.

But, if you or a loved one is spending so much time on video games that they are missing out on real life friendships, jobs, and family– then they should definitely talk to someone.

And yes, mobile games count, too. So candy crushers, you aren’t going to get a pass on this one.

10 Reasons How Technology Takes A Toll On Your Health -

Monday 27th of September 2021

[…] Internet addiction– Just like anything else, if not used in moderation it can become an addiction.  Computer usage is not exempt from this.  Here is a great article talking about the fact that WHO has now listed video gaming addiction as a true addiction  Read the article here. […]

wings io

Thursday 20th of June 2019

Thank you very much for these great cake recipes, I have learned a lot from your web blog


Thursday 6th of June 2019

I personally believe that unless there is physical side effects, vomiting uncontrollable bowel movements exc, that it can’t be considered and addiction, yes it can take time away from your social life, ( I know I have been gaming since I was 9)however not playing a game isn’t the end of the world for me or any of my family and friends that have been gaming with me since 1999, I have put over 1000 hours into world of warcraft( family included ) but not once have I missed work or anything important because I was gaming, ya I stay up till 1230 1 am every night and you guessed it I get up in the morning and go to work, and when I get home cook for my fiancé help clean the house and then I sit down and relax by playing a video game, when I have kids I won’t be able to sit for 3-4 hours and play I know this and most people do as well it’s the stupid people who neglect there responsibilities that are making this out to be a bad thing, your kid is acting up take the farming system away that doesn’t work take the modem out of the wall so they can’t access the internet, easy ways to deal with this and not one of you have mentioned the fact that it is up to the parents to regulate how long there kid plays for and when, if your letting your child stay up till 12-1 am playing games that’s bad parenting and is no fault of the child because he isn’t being told that’s enough, there is a fine line between this subject and I understand both sides, however it shouldn’t be considered a mental addiction when it actually increases your cognitive functions and helps with hand eye coordination which is great for sports like baseball and football there are more but I think you get the picture, my point is, can this really be called an addiction when there are no harmful physical side effects to the consumer, I could consider it a mental illness but not an addiction


Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

I have watched my partner’s child go from a regular boy to an overweight teenager. I consider that a physical issue. The kids are with the mom most of the time and so there is nothing g he or I can do that lasts more than a few days. It’s an addiction, it’s a disease. Children (and adults for that matter) should be making real world connections and learning how to function in our society by experiencing it. Not be desensitized by a virtual world and lose grasp on the one in which they truly live. You say you spend 3-4 hours a night gaming, that’s 21-24 hours a week. Out of curiosity, how much time a week do you spend in nature? Volunteering, or otherwise giving back to your community or the world you actually live in? Something to consider I think....

Sherry Tyson

Thursday 13th of June 2019

That is obsessing but not addiction. The parameters were clear. It takes precedence over life like: work self care, family and social interaction. You use your leisure time just all of it.


Monday 10th of June 2019

I TOTALLY AGREE with you 100%!!!! You hit it on the nail PERFECTLY!!! I am a mom of 4 kiddos and have ALWAYS monitor their video game timing?? Those so-called parents whose kids play non-stop and are encouraging these labels are NOT doing their job as a parent BECAUSE they DON’T want to parent!! They use the video games as “babysitters “ so the kids WON’T bother them!! I’ve seen/heard it toooo often?. I’m a teacher and kiddos tell me that as soon as they get home, they are allowed to play...they tell me this when I ask them about getting their homework done!! It’s a “me, me, me” world we live in, and “parents” (I use that loosely!) are NOT parents because they only want to take care of themselves?‍♀️!


Saturday 1st of June 2019

Wow, I have to say the three strike for drug addicts with Narcan then no treatment options actually just made my blood boil, I find your comment to be of complete ignorance, and as for calling kids brats, obviously you are really old or have never had children as a parent knows, children can be very demanding at times. Unfortunately gaming releases the same chemicals in the brain as o me may have when having cocaine or another substance, this makes the brain hooked, this then causes withdrawal symptoms like any other addiction. I never reply to these but yours is clear you have never been in any of these situations or you may ease up on the judgemental attitude.....


Tuesday 4th of June 2019

I notice the last comment about gaming addiction......... if you think gaming releases the same reaction in the body that cocaine and other substances does then you really have absoultly no experience with drugs of anytype..the only similar behaviour exuded by both gamers and addicts are their anti social behaviour..and as a recovering addict of 20+years in addiction with 8 yrs clean and sober.and this is just another example of pharmaceutical companies jyst wanting to put another drug on the market..ok taje this drug and dont play games hahahaha so fucking stupid


Saturday 1st of June 2019

That was for Susan's comment

Dorothy Williams

Friday 31st of May 2019

The parents have to limit the time the child is playing games, It only becomes addictive when that is all the child wants to do. Adults should know when to stop on their own. It is addictive only if the person makes it so. As far as cell phones go I do not like them. I have none and I do not want one. These people are missing out on life with these phones. I remember when I was a kid we only had one phone. We lied through it and enjoyed life.

Game Programmer

Wednesday 5th of June 2019

Why are people assuming children are the only ones with addiction problems? That's incorrect. Adults are the ones who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on one video game. Mortgaging their homes, losing their jobs, failing out of universities, getting divorces, filing bankruptcy, and so on. Your kid who plays games for several hours a day is no more diseased than you are, as you sit watching Netflix for several hours, or surfing Facebook all afternoon. Some of the key symptoms of a disease are physically painful withdrawals, the inability to control your spending, and the inability to stop, even when it causes distress and anxiety rather than joy and entertainment.

It's been an addiction for generations, look at poker games and slot machines, and more recently moving to mobile devices. The majority of video games today are built using the same principles as casino games. The only reason they are not regulated by the same laws is due to the courts deciding that, since video games never give you real money as a reward, they are different. A very thin line for an addict.


Monday 3rd of June 2019

I think you need to look up the definition of "addiction". You don't seem to understand what it means.