The 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) by the World Health Organization will include the condition gaming disorder. The condition is described as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming so serious that it takes precedence over other life interests.

Many people find that they are addicted to video games. Recent studies at the University of New Mexico suggest that 6% to 15% of all gamers exhibit signs that are similar to addiction. While a gaming addiction may carry substantial costs to compulsive gamers, its signs and symptoms may be difficult to recognise.

Video game addiction comes with warning signs just like any other addiction. Recognising these signs is vital for seeking help if you or someone you care about is an avid gamer. The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery says that these symptoms may be either emotional or physical or both. It's clear that compulsive gaming, like compulsive gambling, uncontrollable drug use, or any other obsessive behaviour, can be harmful.

Emotional Symptoms

  • Feelings of restlessness and/or irritability when unable to play
  • Obsessed with thoughts of previous gaming activity or eagerness over the next session
  • Lying to friends or family members regarding the amount of time spent playing
  • Isolation from others in order to spend more time gaming

Physical Symptoms

  • Tiredness
  • Migraines due to intense concentration or eye strain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome due to the overuse of a controller or computer mouse
  • Poor personal hygiene

Critics of WHO's decision to name compulsive gaming as an addiction disorder say, The evidence we now have suggests that 'gaming disorder' is merely symptomatic of other, underlying mental health problems and that gaming is often used as a coping mechanism for these problems.

Many psychologists insist that further studies need to be conducted before classifying gaming as a separate psychological disorder.