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ICD-11 Gaming Disorder: Needed and just in time or dangerous and much too early?

Commentary on: Scholars’ open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal (Aarseth et al.)

Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Author: Wim van den Brink

In their debate contribution, Aarseth et al. (2016) strongly argue against the proposal of WHO ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases, 11th revision) to include Gaming Disorder as a new diagnostic category emphasizing the fact that no consensus exists on the definition and the risk that gaming will be demonized and gamers stigmatized resulting in a tsunami of false positive referrals to treatment. In this commentary, it is argued that gaming is indeed just another relatively innocent recreational activity with only a small minority losing control resulting in gaming-related problems. It is also argued that – despite a lack of full consensus on the diagnostic criteria – there are clear indications that Gaming Disorder is a relevant clinical entity worldwide and that official recognition as a mental disorder is urgently needed to facilitate the further development, accessibility, and reimbursement of the treatment.

Open access