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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised the possibility of gamers developing an addiction to the popular pastime. 

 

In a new draft of WHO’s International Classification of Diseases, video “gaming disorder,” was included.

 

It comes as the organisation believes players in the games can become addicted.

 

The inclusion of the gaming disorder is in line with growing concerns about the consumption of technology, such as social media and online entertainment.

 

 

It is hoped that the guidelines will encourage therapists to recognise the addiction and provide help to those who need it.

 

WHO’s draft also makes it more likely that insurance companies would cover the treatment.  

 

For friends and family, the draft could mean their fears about a loved one developing an addiction to a game is not unfounded.

 

It is believed for gamers, the recognition could make them more inclined to seek professional help.

 

 

Speaking to The New York Times, Dr Petros Levounis, chairman of the psychiatry department at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said:

 

“It’s going to untie our hands in terms of treatment, in that we’ll be able to treat patients and get reimbursed.

 

"We won’t have to go dancing around the issue, calling it depression or anxiety or some other consequence of the issue but not the issue itself.”

 

The Entertainment Software Association has reported that 2.6 billion people globally play video games, two-thirds of which come from US households.

 

 

Predictions for growth in the industry has been forecasted at 31 percent over the next three years.

 

This equates to $180.1 billion.

 

The gaming industry has called the WHO guidelines as “deeply flawed” and highlighted the “educational, therapeutic and recreational value of games.”

 

It is believed the draft is expected to be officially adopted as a classification next year.

 

 

Mental health professionals report seeing a hike in gamers who have lost control.

 

“I have patients who come in suffering from an addiction to Candy Crush Saga, and they’re substantially similar to people who come in with a cocaine disorder,” Dr Levounis said.

 

“Their lives are ruined, their interpersonal relationships suffer, their physical condition suffers.”

 

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