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Computer game addiction is real, says WHO

World Health Organisation to officially recognise 'gaming disorder'

Prolonged gaming sessions have claimed several lives in the past.
Prolonged gaming sessions have claimed several lives in the past.

Computer game addiction is to be officially recognised by the World Health Organisation as a genuine medical disorder, the BBC reports.

In the upcoming edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the global guide for medical conditions, signs and symptoms, "gaming disorder" will be defined as as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour so severe that it takes "precedence over other life interests".

Symptoms include of gaming disorder include whether a player lacks control over the frequency, intensity, and duration of their gaming sessions, giving increased priority to playing over other activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences. If a player has these symptoms for more than 12 months they could be considered to be suffering from gaming disorder.

Gaming ‘addiction' is an increasing concern in many countries, particularly China and South Korea, where amateur and professional gamers have collapsed and died after marathon sessions lasting several days. Some countries have introduced therapy centres for gaming addicts.

There has been considerable debate among healthcare professionals and the gaming industry over whether such a condition as gaming addiction exists.