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WHO ‘Gaming Disorder’ Classification Opens Door for Treatment

Summary: Researchers say the WHO’s decision to classify video game addiction as a mental health disorder will allow people to receive specialized help for the condition.

Source: Iowa University.

The World Health Organization’s classification of video game addiction as a mental health disorder is a significant step toward getting people the help they need, said Douglas Gentile, an Iowa State University professor of psychology and expert on video games and addiction.

Gentile explains the science behind the WHO decision as well as what parents need to know about the disorder. In a 2011 study published in Pediatrics, Gentile and his colleagues found gaming addiction is comorbid with other mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, social phobias and ADHD. The study tracked more than 3,000 children over the course of two years.

a gaming controller

The World Health Organization’s classification of video game addiction as a mental health disorder is a significant step toward getting people the help they need. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

The findings help answer a question Gentile is often asked – is video game addiction a primary condition, or a symptom of other disorders? The study found gaming addiction occurs along with other mental health problems and is not just a symptom or simply used as a coping mechanism. While Gentile understands why people ask this question, he cautions against trying to pinpoint a primary issue when it comes to mental health.


Iowa State’s Douglas Gentile talks about the significance of the World Health Organization’s classification of gaming disorder and why it is a win for science.

About this neuroscience research article

Source: Angie Hunt – Iowa University
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Video Source: Video credited to Dave Olson, Iowa State University News Service.

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
Iowa University “WHO ‘Gaming Disorder’ Classification Opens Door for Treatment.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 19 June 2018.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/gaming-disorder-9384/>.
Iowa University (2018, June 19). WHO ‘Gaming Disorder’ Classification Opens Door for Treatment. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved June 19, 2018 from http://neurosciencenews.com/gaming-disorder-9384/
Iowa University “WHO ‘Gaming Disorder’ Classification Opens Door for Treatment.” http://neurosciencenews.com/gaming-disorder-9384/ (accessed June 19, 2018).
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