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World Health Organization Officially Recognizes Gaming Addiction

by Jeff Cork on Jun 18, 2018 at 09:46 AM

The World Health Organization has officially recognized gaming disorder as a mental-health condition, as part of the group’s newly released disease-classification document. The WHO, the health-care organization within the United Nations, likens the behavior to other impulse-control disorders, such as gambling.

The clinical diagnosis is based on three manifested behaviors. First, the person in question must exhibit impaired control over gaming, such as its frequency or an decreased ability to stop. Next, the behavior has to be so pervasive that it takes priority and negatively affects other elements of daily life. Finally, gaming has to continue or escalate despite negative consequences. The guidelines say that this behavior should be evident for at least a year before a clinical diagnosis can ordinarily be made, though the duration can be shortened in particularly severe cases.

The WHO emphasizes that this is a clinical condition that it requires a professional diagnosis. In an interview with CNN, Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of the organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, says it’s not a common occurrence. “Millions of gamers around the world, even when it comes to the intense gaming, would never qualify as people suffering from gaming disorder," he says.

The International Classification of Diseases is an attempt to create a universal, international set of guidelines for nations to record and monitor health concerns. The last version, ICD-10, was released 18 years ago.

You can read the specific entry on the disorder here, or browse the entire document over here.

[Source: World Health Organization]