World Health Organization suggests "gaming disorder" as official medical condition

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The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent.

It is believed that between 1% and 6% of young people are addicted to video games.

Now, the World Health Organization has concluded that video game addiction is a mental disease.

"The studies suggest that when these individuals are engrossed in Internet games, certain pathways in their brains are triggered in the same direct and intense way that a drug addict's brain is affected by a particular substance", the association said in that statement.

Hazardous gaming refers to a pattern of gaming, either online or offline that appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to the individual or to others around this individual.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will officially be classing addiction to video games as a disorder from today.

The ICD is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide, and contains around 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death.

The consequences that ICD coding has on provision of care, as well as health financing and insurance, means that clinicians, patient groups, and insurers, among others, take the use of the ICD extremely seriously - many groups often have strong positions on whether or not a condition should be included, or how it should be categoriszed.

The UN health agency said that classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will "serve a public health goal for countries to be better prepared to identify this issue".

Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist and executive director at the non-profit health clinic The Telos Project, told CNN that labeling gaming disorder as a diagnosable condition was "premature".

However, Vladimir Poznyak of the WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse told New Scientist a year ago, when the agency first revealed its decision to include gaming disorder in its diagnostic manual, that the move was supported by sufficient evidence. "However, their prevalence has been increasing to such an alarming degree that we welcome the official World Health Organization recognition as it can help propel further research and provision of services".

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