World Health Organization officially recognizes 'burnout' as a medical condition

Henrietta Brewer
May 29, 2019

The earlier definition "was kind of this weird in-between 'you're not really sick, but you're not fully capable of doing your work, '" says Torsten Voigt, a sociologist at RWTH Achen University in Germany, who published a review of existing studies on burnout in 2017.

While these symptoms may also be visible in non-work related situations (like feeling overwhelmed with housework and family obligations, for example), the World Health Organization states that this diagnosis should only be used in an occupational context.

Meanwhile, gaming disorder appears under disorders due to addictive behaviors.

The updated ICD list was drafted a year ago following recommendations from health experts around the world.


The 11th edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, otherwise known as ICD-11, added "gaming disorder" after the 194 members deemed it a health concern during the assembly.

"The increased risk may be from the frequency of gaming, from the amount of time spent on these activities, from the neglect of other activities and priorities, from risky behaviours associated with gaming or its context, from the adverse consequences of gaming, or from the combination of these". Rather, the disorder occurs when gaming interferes with people's daily lives.

However, the decision to recognize gaming disorder as a condition has been met with opposition by the global gaming industry.

"'Gaming disorder' is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify its inclusion in one of the WHO's most important norm-setting tools", the statement adds, calling for a change to the ruling.


"There is significant debate among medical and professionals about today's World Health Organization action".

'We are concerned they reached their conclusion without the consensus of the academic community.

The topic of video game addiction has been controversial.

"This is the first time burnout has been included in the classification", World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters, New Straits Times reported.


They also say gaming has "educational, therapeutic, and recreational value", and this sentiment has been proven on many fronts.

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