'Gaming disorder' deemed an official illness by World Health Organization

Video game addiction is added to the organization's latest list of modern-day ills.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers

CNET's Roger Cheng demonstrates some of the dangers of smartphone game addiction, like social isolation and poor diet. But is it an official disorder?

Sarah Tew

Your Fortnite addiction might just be an official illness.

The World Health Organization on Saturday adopted the latest update to its International Classification of Diseases (ICD),  which adds "gaming disorder" to its list of modern diseases.

The organization last June added gaming addiction under its section of potentially harmful technology-related behaviors, including too much use of "the internet, computers, smartphones" and more.

Read more: Workplace burnout is now an official medical diagnosisWhat it's like inside the doctor's office of the future

Despite opposition from trade groups, which reportedly pointed to contradictory research on the subject and touted some of the virtues of video games , the latest ICD was officially approved at the 72nd World Health Assembly.

"Gaming disorder" lives under the "disorders due to addictive behavior" section of the ICD. It's described as "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior, which may be online or offline, manifested by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming 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 issue of gaming addiction isn't new: The American Psychiatric Association still has it listed as up for discussion (PDF) in the latest version of its diagnostic bible, the DSM-5. The American Medical Association backed away from "video game addiction" in 2007.

Watch this: Facebook, Instagram try to take on digital addiction