Video game addiction is a mental health disorder, World Health Organization says

DreamHack Leipzig 2019 Gamers Convention
A participant plays a video game at the 2019 DreamHack video gaming festival on February 15, 2019 in Leipzig, Germany. Copyright Jens Schlueter Getty Images file
By Euronews with NBC News Tech and Science News
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The WHO calls gaming addiction "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior" so severe it "takes precedence over other life interests".

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LOS ANGELES - Top global gaming organizations are asking the World Health Organization to reverse its inclusion of "gaming disorder" as a disease, according to a press release sent by the Entertainment Software Association on Saturday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognized gaming disorder over the weekend as a part of its 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). This was a decision the industry was awaiting since the WHO detailed its intentions last summer.

Now, in an effort which includes the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), several organizations have released a statement which states that "gaming disorder" needs more evidence before it can be included in such a classification. The organizations behind the effort include the ESA as well as the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, the Interactive Software Federation of Europe, and the Korea Association of Game Industry (K-GAMES).

"The global video game industry--including representatives from across Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, South Africa, and Brazil--today called on World Health Organization (WHO) Member States to re-examine at an early date its decision to include 'Gaming Disorder' in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11)," the organizations stated in a collective quote in a press release.

"The WHO is an esteemed organization and its guidance needs to be based on regular, inclusive, and transparent reviews backed by independent experts. 'Gaming disorder' is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify its inclusion in one of the WHO's most important norm-setting tools."

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