If you feel like your kids are totally addicted to Fortnite and can't put the controller down, there may be something to that. The Geneva-based World Health Organization announced this week that they have added video game addiction as an official mental health disorder to the "International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems" or "ICD-11."
The changes are slated to be added in January 2022.
The condition was included in a section of the global medical guide that details disorders due to substance abuse or addictive behaviors, such as a gambling disorder.
The disorder is described as "impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences."
The new definition includes all forms of gaming, both online and offline, saying that the people who play with an increased "priority ... to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences."
The volume is used by medical health professionals all over the world to diagnose and classify conditions experienced by patients.
However, not everyone agrees that 'video game addiction' is something that can be diagnosed or treated.
"There was a fairly widespread concern that this is a diagnosis that doesn’t really have a very solid research foundation," Christopher Ferguson, a psychologist and media researcher at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. told USA Today on Monday.
Critics say there hasn't been enough research on the topic to make a definitive conclusion on whether the 'gaming disorder' qualifies as a mental health condition. According to a paper published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions last year, adding video game addiction as a mental health disorder had the potential to have a psychological and societal cost.
"Risk of abuse of a formalized new disorder that solely involves the behavior of playing video games – a stigmatized entertainment activity – can only expand the false-positive issues in psychiatry," researchers wrote.
Supporters of the new classification point to stories of people playing long video game sessions in which they forgo eating and sleeping, but critics point out those are a small fraction of people who play video games.