"It’s also important to remember that excessive gaming can have other consequences, besides those directly related to mental health. It’s been associated with sleep disturbances, low fitness levels, and poor nutrition, for example, which can all have long-term physical effects.

If you do feel that you or a loved one could use some help treating a gaming addiction, Gentile recommends finding a mental health professional with experience in impulse-control disorders—especially since it may be difficult to find someone who specializes specifically in Internet or video games.

Gentile says the WHO’s new classification will likely help health care providers become better versed in treating this disorder and pave the way for more health insurance companies to provide coverage for care. “The first step toward getting people the help we need is recognizing the problem is real,” he says."