The WHO officially puts gaming on its list of addictions

WHO declares compulsive video gaming a mental disorder

WHO declares compulsive video gaming a mental disorder

"Disorders due to addictive behaviours are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviours other than the use of dependence-producing substances", writes the WHO.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently released the 11th edition of its International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD).

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association decided not to classify gaming addiction as a distinct disorder, and said it required further research alongside conditions such as caffeine use disorder.

"Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities", explained the WHO.

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

WHO's Saxena, however, estimated that 2 to 3 percent of gamers might be affected.

"It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives", World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement as the ICD was published. That includes spending more time playing video games and less time with friends and family or at work and school.

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Lubna Alansari, WHO's Assistant Director-General talked about the ICD saying, "It is a cornerstone of health information and ICD-11 will deliver an up-to-date view of the patterns of disease".

Games like Fortnite are more popular than ever, but they may also have renewed fears that games are damaging young minds. Dr Sameer Malhotra, director- mental health and behavioural sciences at Max Healthcare says increasing screen time is leading to lack of human interaction, low emotional connection between children and adults because each one hooked on to the virtual worlds.

Among the other changes to the ICD-11 are a new chapter on traditional medicine, the first time it has been included in the document.

Those who disagree with the WHO's categorisation of excessive gaming as an addictive disorder are, therefore, expected to appeal against its inclusion.

This could pave the way for such treatments to be covered by insurance as insurance reimbursements are also based on ICD coding.

World Health Organization said the ICD team received more than 10,000 proposed revisions for the newest edition of the document.

The other notable addition was a diagnosis of gaming disorder, which is new to ICD-11.

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