The World Health Organization Officially Listed Gaming Disorders as a Mental Health Condition

Have a few Fortnite-obsessed kids? Then you might be interested to know that The World Health Organization (WHO) officially listed gaming disorders as a new mental health condition in the 11th edition of International Classification of Diseases (CID), which was released on June 18.

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told CNN that he's "not creating a precedent" but believes it's important for people who suffer from the condition to get the help they need — despite it being a very rare disorder.

Although not all medical experts agree that gaming disorders should be recognized by the CID because they believe the diagnosis is "too broad," it's important that parents know what to look for when it comes to video game addiction.

What are the signs?
Flickr user Seth Werkheiser

What are the signs?

According to Dr. Poznyak, there are three distinct behaviors that parents should look out for in persistent gamers who have been playing for at least a year, not just mere days or months.

"One is that the gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery," he said.

The second factor has to do with impulse control — or lack thereof: "Even when the negative consequences occur, this behavior continues or escalates."

And finally, your child may exhibit signs of a gaming disorder if they get visibly agitated or stressed out if they go for a period without playing.

How do you treat a gaming disorder?
Flickr user Ginny

How do you treat a gaming disorder?

Although there isn't a specific medication for gaming disorders per se, Dr. Poznyak says that there are treatment options that can help children to alleviate their suffering.

If you suspect your kiddo has a gaming disorder, making an appointment with a cognitive behavioral therapist might be your best bet. Dr. Poznyak also says that psychosocial interventions such as "social support, understanding of the conditions, family support" can also help those who are suffering from gaming disorders.

What are the effects of a gaming disorder?
Flickr user Eric Lewis

What are the effects of a gaming disorder?

Generally, the symptoms of a gaming disorder mimic substance and gambling addictions. Dr. Poznyak says that kids with a gaming disorder might have disturbed sleep patterns, diet problems, and a deficiency in the physical activity.

And while the symptoms of a video game disorder may seem to only be short-term at first glance, not treating it can have serious consequences. Kids who have this affliction may isolate themselves depending on their go-to game of choice, and that can seriously hinder their social development down the road.