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Gaming addiction is now recognized as a mental health disorder

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially recognized addiction to video games as a mental health disorder.

In a report by, WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) now includes digital and video gaming addiction describe as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior” which becomes extensive that it takes over one’s other life interests.

According to Shekhar Saxena, WHO’s expert on mental health and substance abuse, global research shows that worst cases of gaming addiction include gamers spending time playing for up to 20 hours a day, skipping sleep, meals, work or school and other daily activities.

“This is an occasional or transitory behavior,” Saxena said, noting that potential diagnosis of a disorder can only be made if such behavior persists for around a year.

Meanwhile, industry lobby group Video Games Coalition responded to WHO’s decision to include gaming addiction among its recognized and diagnosable diseases, saying that their products were “enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide”.

The group added that the “educational, therapeutic, and recreational value” of gaming was well-founded and widely recognized and that it urged WHO for reconsideration.

The ICD includes 55,000 injuries, diseases and causes of death and its latest version, the ICD-11, is now electronic for the first time and is completely accessible o doctors and other health workers around the world.

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