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Gaming Disorder included in WHO’s latest draft of International Compendium of Diseases

Members of WHO aren’t expected to report using the ICD-11 until 2022
Gaming Disorder included in WHO’s latest draft of International Compendium of Diseases

Gaming Disorder has been included in the World Health Organization’s 11th revision of its International Compendium of Diseases.

The new inclusion finds itself in Section 6: Mental, behavioural or neurodevelopmental disorders under disorders due to addictive behaviours.

WHO characterises gaming disorder by a “pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour,” which may be online or offline.

Furthermore, it is manifested by “impaired control over gaming.” Such signs of this include increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that “gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities.”

The other is the continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of “negative consequences.”

Down with the sickness

The ICD-11 now also lists “hazardous gaming” along with among other substance uses. This includes hazardous gambling, a lack of physical exercise and others under problems associated with health behaviours.

The World Health Organization’s ICD-11 was released on June 18 to allow WHO member states to prepare for implementation.

Member states are to start reporting using the ICD-11 on January 1st 2022. This is assuming endorsement for the changes will follow during the organisation’s executive board meeting and the World Health Assembly in 2019.

In reply to this news, a collection of video game trade bodies have released a joint statement saying the WHO should reconsider adding 'gaming disorder' onto its list. 

"Video games across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms are enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, with the educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games being well-founded and widely recognised," the statement read.

"We are therefore concerned to see ‘gaming disorder’ still contained in the latest version of the WHO’s ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community. The evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive. We hope that the WHO 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. We understand that our industry and supporters around the world will continue raising their voices in opposition to this move and urge the WHO to avoid taking steps that would have unjustified implications for national health systems across the world."