The hallmark of the disorder is that playing games overtakes other desires, and that it continues or escalates despite negative consequences.
WHO's Saxena, however, estimated that two to three percent of gamers might be affected.
The WHO released the latest version of its International Classification of Diseases, ICD-11, today, and among the changes from the previous iteration is that "gaming disorder" has been added to the section on addictive disorders. An estimated 1% to 5% of young people in Western countries have some form of it, according to a 2017 review in the Journal of Behavior Addictions, but studies vary in how they define gaming disorder in the first place.
Video games are one of the most fun yet dangerously mesmerizing pleasures of our time. The U.S. video game industry - through its Entertainment Software Association lobbying group - threw its support behind several academics who opposed the WHO's efforts when it confirmed a year ago that they would include "gaming disorder" as a condition.
The WHO describes addiction to digital and video gaming as "a pattern of "persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" that is so extensive it "takes precedence over other life interests".
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In its latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases, "gender dysphoria" - or transgenderism, in layman's terms - is not listed as a mental disorder any longer, but as a "gender incongruence", which has also been moved out of the mental disorder category.
WHO officials added the hope that adding this condition to a sexual health chapter of the ICD codes would "help increase access to care for health interventions" and "destigmatize the condition".
"What is reassuring about what the World Health Organization has said, is that unless you've got all this shit going on, gaming's fine, and deliberately strayed away from using the word addiction".
The AP notes that The American Psychiatric Association still does not label Gaming Disorder as a mental health condition.
Dr Mark Griffiths, who has been researching the concept of video gaming disorder for 30 years, said the new classification would help legitimise the problem and strengthen treatment strategies.
The World Health Organization's worldwide list of diseases is getting an update.
It's hard to know how many people actually fit the criteria for gaming disorder.