‘Gaming Disorder’ Now Listed As Mental Health Condition

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Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing.

In its latest revision to a disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a mental health condition. The statement confirmed the fears of some parents but led critics to warn that it may risk stigmatizing too many young video players.

“It is a problem and it deserves its own category and deserves credibility,” said Christopher Mulligan, the founder and clinical director of the Cyber Addiction Recovery Center in Los Angeles.

“If you apply the simple criteria of addiction, withdrawal symptoms, tolerance, negative consequences over time, some of the real standards they apply to kids, teens, adults who are compulsively or involved in overuse of technology so they really do have the same symptoms and there is profound brain involvement.”

Mulligan attributes an uptick in gaming addictions to improved accessibility of video games over the years.