The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided that addiction to video games is a mental health disorder, adding it to its International Classification of Diseases.
Shekhar Saxena, the WHO expert on mental health and substance abuse, said some of the worst cases seen in global research were of gamers playing for up to 20 hours a day, going without sleep, meals, work or school and other daily activities.
He also stated that the disorder is rare but recognition of early warning signs may help control it and ultimately prevent it.
The recognition of gaming disorder as an official illness will “result in the increased attention of health professionals to the risks of development of this disorder and, accordingly, to relevant prevention and treatment measures.”
A response came out from a lobbying group for the video game industry, saying that video games are “enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide” and added that “educational, therapeutic, and recreational value” of games is widely recognized and urged the WHO to reconsider.
At the annual World Health Assembly held this month, the IDC containing the new classification will be presented, it will be adopted in 2022.