Compulsive video-gaming now classified as mental health disorder

The World Health Organization says scientific evidence shows that the addiction is similar to compulsive gambling in its impact on gamers' lives and families.

The World Health Organization says compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition – a move that some critics warn may risk stigmatizing its young players.

In its latest revision to an international disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said Monday that classifying “Gaming Disorder” as a separate condition will “serve a public health purpose for countries to be better prepared to identify this issue.”

Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO’s department for mental health, said WHO accepted the proposal that Gaming Disorder should be listed as a new problem based on scientific evidence, in addition to “the need and the demand for treatment in many parts of the world.”

Dr. Joan Harvey, a spokeswoman for the British Psychological Society, warned that the new designation might cause unnecessary concern among parents and said only a minority of gamers would be affected.

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