Video game addiction is now being recognised as a mental health condition

Video game addiction is now being recognised as a mental health condition

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorised excessive gaming as an official disorder, adding it to its latest draft of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) - and the games industry is, unsurprisingly, unimpressed.

"Gaming disorder has been added to the section on addictive disorders", the World Health Organization said in a statement.

Video gaming has exploded in popularity, and now there is "gaming disorder".

The WHO's expert on mental health and substance abuse, Shekhar Saxena, said some of the worst cases seen in global research were of gamers playing for up to 20 hours a day, forgoing sleep, meals, work or school and other daily activities.

According to the organization, the disorder is characterized by an impaired ability to control one's gaming habits, to the extent that it begins to negatively impact their daily activities and supersedes their other interests. Finally, gaming continues - or escalates - despite leading to negative consequences.

Risky behaviours associated with gaming or its context. The NHS (National Health Service) will treat people who have become "addicted" to video games after being declared a Mental Health problem.

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"Video games across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms are enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, with the educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games being well-founded and widely recognised", the statement reads.

This'll mean that annoyed parents and spouses won't be able to declare their child or partner is afflicted with gaming addiction if they've put in a few too many hours in Fortnite and other such compellingly competitive games. Revisions in inclusions of sexual health conditions are sometimes made when medical evidence does not back up cultural assumptions.

Online and offline "gaming disorder" is grouped with "disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviours" in the ICD's 11th edition, the first major revision in almost three decades.

WHO said classifying "gaming disorder" as a separate addiction will help governments, families and health care workers be more vigilant and prepared to identify the risks.

Additionally, WHO lists both online and offline gaming as a disorder, but the former can be an enriching experience as users can forge friendships and even romantic relationships through multiplayer games.

"You have these short, obsessive bursts and yes, people are playing a lot, but it's not an addiction", he said. The statement is highly critical, citing contested and inconclusive data and concerns of misdiagnosis.

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