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December 26, 2017

Extreme videogaming will soon be labeled a mental illness

Mental Health Video Games
12262017_call_of_duty ./.

The "Call of Duty: Black Ops" game.

Extreme videogaming could soon be listed as a mental illness.

The World Health Organization will add “gaming disorder” to its International Classification of Diseases in 2018.

In a draft of the upcoming 11th update of International Classification of Diseases, WHO characterizes gaming disorder as "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour ('digital gaming' or 'video-gaming'), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences."

That classification means doctors and health care workers would be able to diagnose someone with the condition.

The description of the condition continues: "The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe."

But as one academic told Fortune, not all video game players have a gaming disorder.

Many people play the games without getting a diagnosis, Daphne Bavelier, a professor at the University of Geneva; told the magazine. Some video games can be a safe way of improving hand-eye coordination, enhancing problem-solving abilities and relieving stress, she said.