The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed in January that the draft of the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) includes “gaming disorder” as a mental health problem.
The diagnosis would only apply if the game playing, either digital or video, is characterized as impairing control that gives gaming priority over other activities to the extent that it continues or escalates despite negative consequences.
The behavior 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.”
In the United States, diagnoses usually are based on criteria in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The latest revision is the DSM-5, which includes “Internet Gaming Disorder” in Section III as a condition that is not yet classified as a formal disorder “but warrants additional clinical research and study.”
Inclusion of a disorder in the ICD is a consideration countries take into account when planning public health strategies. The ICD-11 is expected to be approved for publication later this year.
Studies suggest only a small percentage of people who engage in gaming become so enthralled that they would meet the diagnostic criteria of having a gaming disorder.
WHO reported that including gaming disorder reflects a consensus of experts from different disciplines and follows the development of treatment programs for persons with similar conditions.