Gaming addiction

Gaming addiction

Gaming addiction is to be listed as a mental health condition for the first time by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will include the condition "gaming disorder".

Please take note that in our South African environment ICD-11 is not in use and is only currenlty in its draft form at the World Health Organisation. The Department of Health will give ample notice should it need to be integrated in our healthcare system at some time in the future.

The International Classification of Disease (ICD) is the basis for identification of health trends and statistics globally and the international standard of reporting diseases and health conditions.

The inclusion of a disorder in the ICD is a consideration which countries and communities take into account when planning public health stratergies and monitoring trends of disorders.


Gaming disorder is defined in the draft 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior ("digital-gaming" or "video-gaming") characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurance of negative consequesnces.


For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour 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.

Should all people who engage in gaming be concerned about developing gaming disorder?

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital or video-gaming activities. However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behaviour.