WHO's ICD-11 released: Gaming addiction classified as a mental health condition

WHO's ICD-11 released: Gaming addiction classified as a mental health condition

The World Health Organization (WHO) has tagged compulsive video gaming as a mental health condition in its updated worldwide classification of diseases (ICD) manual, released on Monday.

The United Nations" health agency on Tuesday released its latest global classification of diseases, known as the ICD-11, which categorises "gender incongruence' under a newly created chapter on sexual health. "Gaming disorder has been added because of very clear scientific evidence that it has characteristic symptoms, and that there is need and demand for treatment from many regions of the world".

Dr Shekhar Saxena, director for the department for mental health from the WHO, told Euronews in a conference call, that video gaming disorder "can be present at any age" but particularly in adolescents and the young. The problem comes when gaming takes priority over school, socialization or work.

World Health Organization officials say statistics, mainly from East and South Asian countries, show only a very small two to three percent of people are addicted to Gaming. And it warned that people who enjoy video games should be alert to the amount of time they spend at their hobby, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health. The draft draws similarities to gambling addictions.

A draft of the International Classification of Diseases manual includes a new definition for "gaming disorder" that is now pending approval.

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One thing is clear: The ICD-11 update is arriving one way or another.

Those behaviours, according to the World Health Organization, can significantly impair people's personal, family, social, educational, occupational and other important areas of functioning. Those seeking treatment for compulsive or addictive technology use, including for gaming, have had trouble finding treatment that is covered by insurance.

"It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives", WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as the ICD was published.

"Gaming Disorder" is defined as "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior ('digital gaming" or "video-gaming'), which may be online (i.e., over the Internet) or offline", and was officially added to the Classification of Diseases on Monday, .

In the organisation's latest version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), gaming disorder has been listed as an addiction.

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