World Health Organisation officially recognises gaming addiction as 'mental disorder'

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India May 27, 2019, 02.07 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The move comes in less than a year after WHO added gaming addictions as a potential mental disorder in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

World Health Organisation officially classified video gaming as a mental health disorder in its list of modern diseases during the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

The move comes in less than a year after WHO added gaming addictions as a potential mental disorder in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

The WHO's ICD, a reference bible of recognised and diagnosable diseases, describes addiction to digital and video gaming as "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" that becomes so extensive it "takes precedence over other life interests". 

"For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months," WHO said in a statement.

The decision regarding the inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 was based on reviews of available evidence that reflects "a consensus of experts from different disciplines and geographical regions that were involved in the process of technical consultations undertaken by WHO in the process of ICD-11 development," WHO said.

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which has been updated over the past 10 years, now covers 55,000 injuries, diseases and causes of death. It forms a basis for the WHO and other experts to see and respond to trends in health.

The ICD is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on ICD classifications.

This latest version - known as ICD-11 - is completely electronic for the first time, in an effort to make it more accessible to doctors and other health workers around the world.

The revision will come into effect on January 1, 2022.

(With inputs from agencies)