The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday that “gaming disorder” will now be recognized as a mental health condition, CNN reports. Including the new disorder for the first time in its 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the WHO states that those who prioritize videogaming above other daily activities are now able to attach a specific condition to their habits.
WHO defines the disorder as “a pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
Dr. Vladimir Poznyak of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse clarified the disorder further to CNN. “One [characteristic] is that the gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery,” Poznyak said. The others are “impaired control of these behaviors,” wherein “even when the negative consequences occur, this behavior continues or escalates,” and impairment of everyday functions and activities, including “disturbed sleep patterns,” “diet problems,” and a “deficiency in physical activity.”
Don’t fret though — gaming disorder doesn’t affect the vast majority of gamers. Poznyak continued, “Millions of gamers around the world, even when it comes to the intense gaming, would never qualify as people suffering from gaming disorder. And let me emphasize that this is a clinical condition, and clinical diagnosis can be made only by health professionals which are properly trained to do that.”
For the full rundown of what gaming disorder actually is, head over to WHO.
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