'Gaming Disorder' is a mental health condition, World Health Organization says
El Paso, TEXAS —
In 2018, playing video games obsessively might lead to a diagnosis of a mental health disorder. "Gaming disorder" will be included in the World Health Organization's 2018 International Classification of Diseases.
The organization describes gaming disorder as an addictive behavior that can "result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning."
Here's WHO's official description of the disorder:
"Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe."
Video game playing, either online or offline, must be "normally evident over a period of at least 12 months" for this diagnosis to be made, according to the beta draft guidance. However, if symptoms are severe and all requirements are met, health care professionals may include people who have been playing for shorter periods of time, the draft reads.
Once gaming disorder is added to the list of diseases, it must be recognized by doctors and insurance companies.