On Monday, June 18th, the World Health Organization released the ICD- 11, a collection of new classifications for diseases. Among the changes, the World Health Organization has now classified gaming disorder as a mental illness. This latest addition to the ICD- 11 did not come without controversy.

“Games can be addictive, they help the player explore imagination and fantasy, but I wouldn’t consider it being a mental disorder,” said Mike Infante, a 17-year-old Sheldon High School Student. “But of course youth want to hide and escape from reality with music, games and etc.”  

According to the ICD- 11, the criteria for having a gaming disorder include impaired control over gaming, increasing priority to gaming, or continuation of gaming even with negative consequences.

“Gaming gives you an adrenaline rush,” said Harley Mayer, a 15-year-old Pleasant Grove High School student. “Gaming is very manipulative and always finds ways to give you reasons to come back, addicts use drugs to get away and so do some gamers.”  

Adolescents and teens clearly use games to escape society, but does that classify as a mental disorder or a sign of society itself?  Keep in mind, though the World Health Organization added gaming disorder to its list of mental illnesses, they also have kept “childhood gender incongruence” as a sexual health disorder. The question remains, do people need to change their behavior to avoid being addicted to games or does society as a whole need to change to so that people would actually like take a meaningful a part in it.   

“I think anything can really hinder a person from living a healthy lifestyle, that doesn’t mean all of those things deserve to be a disorder,” said Mallorie Cruz, a local youth coordinator. “Each person must be treated case by case basis, as long as something doesn’t stop you from taking care of yourself, it’s not necessarily something that needs to be treated.”  

Some people think that this new addition to the ICD-11 is something that adolescents and teens need so that they can then be treated for their conditions. Others like Cruz fear that the classifications and criteria to be diagnosed are too vague while many teens like Infante, don’t even believe there is even a real disorder at all.

What do you think? Is gaming disorder a viable mental illness, and if so, are the criteria too broad?