The World Health Organization is planning to add gaming disorder to its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a publicly available beta draft of ICD-11 reveals.
WHO’s definition of a gaming disorder states it’s “characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour,” online or offline, marked by:
- Impaired control over gaming (i.e., onset, frequency or context).
- Increasing priority given to gaming over other life interests and daily activities.
- Continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences (i.e. “significant impairment” in personal, family, social, educational or occupational areas).
WHO notes the pattern of problematic gaming behaviour can be continuous or episodic and recurrent, but generally should be evident over a period of at least 12 months in order to be diagnosed — though that might be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.
The WHO’s ICD-11 draft, scheduled to be released in 2018, doesn’t mention prevention or treatment options.
The inclusion of the gaming disorder could lead to more treatment options for those who are identified as having the issue.
WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told the CBC the inclusion is “a consideration which countries take into account when making decisions on provision of health care and allocation of resources for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.”
There’s still no consensus on the existence or specifics of this disorder in the psychiatric community, however.
The most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder released by the American Psychiatric Association — the Fifth Edition released in 2013 — included internet gaming disorder as a subtype in its Emerging Measures and Models section, indicating further research was needed to classify it as a separate disorder.