‘Gaming Disorder’ now to be considered a mental condition

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When the World Health Organisation makes its 11th edition manual public in 2018, ‘Gaming Disorder’ will now be a classified mental condition for the first time ever. According to the World Health Organisation, spending large amounts of time with ‘highly addictive’ consoles, can eventually take a toll on the player. Notable traits and signs include the individual prioritising the time that they spend with gaming consoles over work, normal daily activities and life interests. Like other addictions, this will supposedly cause the user’s circumstances to deteriorate.

Some countries had already identified it as a major public health concern, prior to the announcement by The World Health Organisation quite severely labelling it a ‘mental condition’.

For an individual to be diagnosed, they must have shown symptoms of the addiction for at least a year prior to this. This though, could be subject to change depending on the severity of the case.

The negative effects of excessive gaming do arguably outweigh the benefits, especially considering the long term issues recently associated with the pastime. While too much gaming in general can seemingly lead to the more serious diagnosis of a mental condition, there have been studies conducted recently that suggest it is action games that can cause the most serious  and noteworthy cases. Video gaming addiction has even been recognised as almost as threatening as gambling addiction for an individual and can affect players as young as eight years old.

If you have employees within your organisation that participate in excessive gaming outside of work, it could be causing behavioural changes that will affect their performance. If they are in positions where concentration and constant communication with colleagues is vital, it is worth employers reviewing whether or not their time outside work is having a negative effect on their role and responsibilities.

For example, if an employee who excessively plays these games, drives for your organisation, think then of how fatigue could affect their concentration whilst they are on the road, or even the implications of them falling asleep at the wheel.  The same goes for any employees that operate heavy machinery, if they’re tired there is always the risk that they could injure themselves or a colleague if they aren’t concentrating.  There is also the argument that time spent playing competitive video games could cause increase levels of aggression in your workforce, making them easily irritated or likely to snap when given instructions or during conversation with other members of staff.

Whilst gaming may not directly affect you or your business, there could be indirect issues surrounding employees that are known to be excessive gamers. Remember ‘Gaming Addiction’ now being considered a mental health condition means that it will be classed as a disability and therefore a protected characteristic for employees within any organisation and could be viewed as unfair dismissal should an employee be let go due to this.