World Health Organization officially classifies gaming disorder

Game over WHO lists video game addiction as mental health disorder

The classification was also lambasted on social media, with users linking the concern about gaming addiction more to moral panic than solid evidence.

You can expect to hear a lot about the addictive nature of video games over the next few days, because the World Health Organisation has just published the latest draft of its updated International Classification of Diseases manual, and a, "gaming disorder", is listed as a genuine medical condition.

The World Health Organization has classified gaming disorder for the first time.

That doesn't surprise Daniel Kaufmann, a professor at Grand Canyon University who has done research on video game addiction and has offered treatment for it.

Take a peek at ICD-11's entry on "gambling disorder" and you'll find nearly identical language; In other words, video game addiction has become so notable that it's worth including in a global medical reference document, as the World Health Organization stated in its introduction to ICD-11.

Treatment for gaming disorder is generally based in cognitive behavioral therapy, which would generally be done in two phases, Simon Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

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However, some have questioned whether gaming disorder needs to be recognized as its own condition, and not dealt with as a symptom of mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. Game addiction however, can result in gamers spending several hours at a time in front of their screens.

Hazardous gaming refers to a pattern of gaming, either online or offline that appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to the individual or to others around this individual.

The WHO said that if gaming takes precedence over daily activities and life interests, then it can be classed as gaming disorder.

To be diagnosed with gaming disorder, a person's behavior must significantly impact other important aspects of their life, such as their relationships or their ability to hold down a job. Housing almost 55,000 medical issues, the ICD-11 is used for clinical care, research, and is rarely given major revisions, so it is a legitimately big deal that gaming addiction has been added to its pages. The evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive.

ICD-11 also includes changes to sexual health classifications.

The UN health agency said that classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will "serve a public health goal for countries to be better prepared to identify this issue".

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