On Monday, the U.N.'s health agency announced it will add extreme video game playing as a condition in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases manual.
In the previous World Health Organization classification, gender identity disorders, such as transsexualism were listed under mental and behavioral conditions.
For a diagnosis, the behavior pattern should last at least 12 months, though the World Health Organization is proposing exceptions in severe cases. Finally, gaming continues - or escalates - despite leading to negative consequences. If you are a video game enthusiast or at least know others that love to spend hours playing games you might be interested in the three major diagnostic features or characteristics of gaming disorder.
The report, The International Classification of Diseases (ICD- 11), has been updated over the past 10 years.
The World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases (ICD) publication, now in version ICD-11 and first known as the International List of Causes of Death when it was adopted back in 1893, is created to make cross-border statistical reporting and treatment easier by ensuring that everyone is using the same terms with the same definitions. The inclusion of a disorder in ICD is take into account by countries when planning public health strategies and monitoring trends of disorders.
Dr Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO's department for mental health, said WHO accepted the proposal that Gaming Disorder should be listed as a new problem based on scientific evidence, in addition to "the need and the demand for treatment in many parts of the world". Of course, gaming industry spokespeople aren't happy about this draft, which if passed, would come into effect in May 2019. The WHO states that studies suggest the disorder impacts "only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities".
But there are people who compulsively play games. The evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive. Is gaming disorder really a growing concern among the masses?
"We hope that the World Health Organization will reconsider the mounting evidence put before them before proposing inclusion of "gaming disorder" in the final version of ICD-11 to be endorsed next year".
There's another related condition that's new to ICD-11: Hazardous gaming. The WHO has also added a distinct chapter on sexual health for the first time.
"A key principle in this revision was to simplify the coding structure and electronic tooling - this will allow health care professionals to more easily and completely record conditions", said Dr. Robert Jakob, leader of the WHO's Classifications Terminologies and Standards team.