The World Health Organization is set to recognize gaming disorder as a serious mental health issue.
In its 11th revision of the 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” problem 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, online and offline, over other aspects of everyday life.
Gregory Harti, 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 when in the past three years, 50 U.S. colleges established varsity gaming teams, with scholarships, coaches and game analysts.