World Health Organization classifies video game addiction as mental health disorder

Addiction to video games is now considered a mental health disorder by a leading international body.

The World Health Organization (WHO) added video game addiction to its International Classification of Diseases in an update Saturday, according to NBC News.

The classification refers to “gaming disorder” as "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior" that becomes so extensive it "takes precedence over other life interests.”

The move comes less than a year after WHO added gaming addiction to its list of potentially harmful technology-related behaviors.

Shekhar Saxena, the WHO's expert on mental health and substance abuse, told NBC News that the disorder is rare and is only diagnosed following months of extended playing.

A lobbying group for the video game industry pushed back on the new classification, saying video games are "enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide” and noting that the "educational, therapeutic, and recreational value" is widely recognized.

The updated ICD containing the new classification will be presented at the annual World Health Assembly held this month. The classification will not be adopted until 2022.
Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher is the editor and publisher of High Plains Pundit. Dan is also the host of the popular High Plains Pundit Podcast.

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