For Media

Five-step Guide for Media and Journalists Who Write about Gaming Disorder



a. If you’re not writing in English, check local translations. 

b. Not all countries use the ICD-11 nor recognize gaming disorder. Find a local expert who can tell you about local diagnostic practice.

a. Roughly half of the experts support including gaming disorder in clinical practice. It remains a matter of opinion; there’s still no good evidence for or against.

b. Some can benefit from services enabled by gaming disorder diagnosis, others don't. It’s impossible to say what’s the net outcome yet.

a. There’s no, and never will be, objective methods to identify gaming disorder. Like any mental disorder, gaming disorder is diagnosed subjectively by clinical experts via interview.

b. Gaming disorder is in the ICD-11, defined by selected criteria. It’s possible that, in the future, the criteria change and/or gaming disorder is removed from the ICD-11.

a. Few of those who experience problems qualify for gaming disorder diagnosis. It’s ok to speak of “gaming-related problems” if the reference isn’t clear.

b. One doesn’t need a diagnosis to seek help for (any) problems. Many people benefit from various support services even though they have no diagnoses.

a. There are no reliable prevalence rates about gaming disoder yet. In principle, none of the popular measures have been clinically validated, and there's no good population-level diagnostic data yet.

b. Among the few consensus points is that gaming is commonly used for coping with anxiety, depression, and other problems. Causality hasn’t been established.


Many of the above points can be adapted to discussions about internet, smartphone, and social media use. Note, however, that neither of those have formal clinical status. Although some people have problems with overusing the internet, smartphones, and social media, these problems aren’t “addictions” and shouldn’t be referred to as such.