The World Health Organization is set to recognize gaming disorder as a serious mental health issue.
In its 11th International Classification of Disease, a diagnostic manual to be published next year, the U.N. health agency defines gaming disorder as a “persistent or recurrent” disorder that can cause “significant impairment” to the gamer’s life, including to family, education, work and friends.
The agency says the disorder is characterized by giving increasing priority to gaming, on and offline, over other aspects of everyday life.
Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman, told CNN that the entry on the disorder “includes only a clinical description and not prevention and treatment options.”
According to a report released in 2016 by the gaming industry, 63 percent of U.S. households include a gamer who, on average, has been playing video games for 13 years.
The increasing popularity of video gaming became evident in the past three years when 50 U.S. colleges established varsity gaming teams, with scholarships, coaches and game analysts.
However, some countries, such as China and South Korea already consider the internet and gaming to be addictions and have created boot-camplike treatment facilities.