World Health Organization to recognize "gaming disorder" as mental illness

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Addiction to playing video games will soon be recognized as a mental health disorder.

The World Health Organization is set to classify "gaming disorder" as a mental health problem in its 2018 version of the International Classification of Diseases.

According to a draft of the WHO's update, gaming disorder can be diagnosed if a person's habit "is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning."

The WHO adds the symptoms need to be present for at least a year, but a diagnosis could come sooner if symptoms are severe.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which guides psychiatric diagnoses in the U.S., takes a different stance.

Its update published in 2013 lists Internet Gaming Disorder as a condition that needs more clinical research and experience before it can be considered a formal disorder.