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CAPE TOWN - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has posted its latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD) report. 

In the report, WHO has listed gaming as an addiction, stating that it can be characterised by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour, which may be online or offline.

“The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, occupational, or other important areas of functioning,” said the WHO.

Here are the characteristics of Gaming disorder: 

1. Impaired control over gaming.
2. Priority given to gaming, and gaming takes precedence over other interests and activities.
3. Continuation of gaming despite negative consequences.

Additionally, Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse told CNN that the main characteristics are "very similar" to the diagnostic features of substance use disorders and gambling disorder. 

For a diagnosis to be made, the negative pattern of behavior must last at least 12 months: "It cannot be just an episode of few hours or few days," Poznyak told CNN. 

"However, exceptions can be made when the other criteria are met and symptoms are severe enough", Poznyak said. 

Hazardous gaming

The WHO has also classified hazardous gaming, which refers to a pattern of gaming that increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences.

The increased risks may be from:

1. The frequency of gaming.

2. The amount of time spent on these activities.

3.The neglect of other activities and priorities.

4. Risky behaviours associated with gaming or its context.

5.The adverse consequences of gaming or

6. a combination of these.