"The behavior pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning".
This isn't a particularly new realization, as there have been rehab centers for gaming addiction founded in the past.
Figuring out the degree to which playing games is harmful (or helpful) is all about context, according to Bruce Lee, an associate professor of worldwide health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
"We just don't think it's a good idea to let them spend hours playing video games", said Knoxville mother Meredith Prince.
Playing too many video games could become problematic if the behavior causes a person's relationships or performance at school or work to suffer. Third, pathologizing gaming behavior has fallout beyond the therapeutic setting.
WHO's description of Gaming Disorder doesn't account for professional esports players whose main occupation is to compete for money and for glory.
The push to pathologize gaming, he believes, is based off misguided comparisons to heroin or cocaine addiction: "There are many myths such as that games involve dopamine and brain regions similar to substance abuse", Ferguson said.
The diagnostic manual was last updated in 1990 and is now used by more than 100 countries, including Canada. Research also shows that gaming can quicken decision making. It could contribute to a stigma around gaming that affects healthy gamers. Public health experts also use the ICD to track the number of deaths and diseases.
That means, not all gamers can be labeled with a disorder, even if they seem to play a considerable amount. The third earmark is continuation or escalation despite consequences.
The WHO entry does not include any information about prevention or treatment of gaming disorder, unfortunately.
There's no debate that video game addiction destroys lives.