The WHO released the latest version of its International Classification of Diseases, ICD-11, today, and among the changes from the previous iteration is that "gaming disorder" has been added to the section on addictive disorders.
About gaming disorder, the World Health Organization says it affects only a "small proportion of people", and that the characteristics denoting the condition must be present in someone for at least 12 months before it can be officially diagnosed as a disorder.
WHO's Saxena, however, estimated that two to three percent of gamers might be affected. Separate from addiction, this refers to a pattern of gaming that "increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences for the individual or others around this individual".
Compulsive video gaming is now considered a mental health condition by the World Health Organization. Although that may sound intense, so was her video game addiction.
World Health Organization said this situation is severe enough to result in "significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning". If these underlying causes of the use of gaming as a distraction from life are dealt with then gaming is often scaled back dramatically. The video game industry is also a financial powerhouse, releasing popular new multiplayer games like Fortnite and drawing millions of players each month.
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In the U.S. and in some European countries, ICD-11 and its classification of diseases is used for allocating insurance premiums and expenses.
A search on the internet points to a 35-year-old woman who died last year after playing the World of Tanks video game, broadcast on video game streaming service Twitch, for 24 hours.
Last year, a study from almost 30 academics opposed the gaming disorder classification, saying their addiction was best viewed as a coping mechanism associated with underlying problems such as anxiety or depression.
The report, The International Classification of Diseases (ICD- 11), has been updated over the past 10 years. Responding to the move, Dr. Petros Levounis of the Jersey Medial School Department of Psychiatry said that the recognition would help the medical field to be more comprehensive in providing solutions to common and emergent medical health conditions.
Dr Bowden-Jones said gaming addictions were usually best treated with psychological therapies, but that some medicines might also work.