The WHO included gaming addiction in its 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the global basis for the identification and classification of diseases due for publication in mid-2018.
Symptoms of the illness include the prioritisation of in-game achievements to the detriment of other aspects of a person’s life, such as family or social ties, food, sleep, education and work. It affects mainly young men, who tend to spend more time playing video games than women.
The American Psychiatric Association had previously ruled that there was not enough research into the condition to classify video-game addiction as an illness. But according to the ICD, gaming addiction should be recognised as an illness if these negative impacts have been present for at least a year.
Nigel Henderson, the president of Mental Health Europe (MHE), told EURACTIV.com that the symptoms that define gaming addiction as a mental health risk “could be extended to anything that starts to take over or dominate one’s life”.