WHO classifies video game addiction as a mental health disorder

Playing video games compulsively now qualifies as new mental health problem

Playing video games compulsively now qualifies as new mental health problem

Children will have NHS access to treatment for video game addiction following the World Health Organisation's ruling that it is a mental health disorder. WHO member Dr. Vladimir Poznyak tells CNN, "Millions of gamers around the world, even when it comes to the intense gaming, would never qualify as people suffering from gaming disorder".

On Monday, the World Health Organization announced its eleventh International Classification of Diseases, placing "Video Game Disorder" in the same category as 'Gambling Disorder'. This means that those diagnosed will be entitled to be treated by the NHS. "The WHO should consider the mounting evidence put before them before inclusion next year of "gaming disorder" in the final version of ICD-11".

The news, however, has been met with some criticism. Dr Joan Harvey, a spokeswoman for the British Psychological Society, said that the new classification may cause unnecessary concern among parents.

Having the condition officially described by the World Health Organization will help facilitate such academic investigations, and could have the added benefit of leveraging insurance companies to cover therapeutic interventions.

Saxena said parents and friends of video game enthusiasts should still be mindful of a potentially harmful problem.


Experts say WHO's inclusion may come as a boon for addicts in India that has only three prominent clinics to treat the condition now.

In addition, ICD is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on ICD coding as well as national health program managers, data collection specialists and others tracking progress in global health and determine the allocation of health resources.

Games like Fortnite are more popular than ever, but they may also have renewed fears that games are damaging young minds. "Right now we are seeing people spend up to 16 hours a day just playing on these video games, so this allows them to reach out for help", Nottke said.

UKIE already has their own FAQ up about the issue, which explains the controversy and the genuine disagreement in academic circles as to whether gaming addiction counts as a separate disorder. He noted that the diagnostic criteria for gaming disorder, including preoccupation and unsuccessful attempts to control behavior, are "strikingly" similar to the symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction.

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