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World Health Organization plans to add addiction to gaming to its list of mental disorders

The final version of the latest International Classification of Diseases will be published in 2018.

The World Health Organization is planning to add “gaming disorder” – excessive addiction to video games – to its list of recognised mental disorders. In a draft of the next revision of its International Classification of Diseases, the WHO described the condition as a “pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour”.

The International Classification of Diseases’ newest version, ICD-11, is scheduled for release in 2018. The last version, ICD-10, was published in 1990, and is used by 117 member nations to report health statistics.

The draft describes gaming disorder as the condition in which one loses control over the activity, begins to give it more priority over other life interests, and continues to indulge in it even after negative consequences show up.

The behaviour pattern as a result can “result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning”, the draft said.

Diagnosis can be done if the condition remains evident for at least a year, the draft said.

Here is the full text of the draft’s description of “gaming disorder”:

Gaming disorder is characterised by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (“digital gaming” or “video-gaming”), which may be online or offline, manifested by: 

  1. impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context),
  2. increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities,
  3. continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.

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