Gaming disorder to soon find place in WHO’s 11 revision of ICD

The World Health Organization has taken cognizance of studies suggesting the deteriorating of physical or psychological health due to enormous time spent in playing games rather than any physical activity

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New Delhi: Do you like to play games without changing your position for hours altogether? Or are you ignoring the advice on the amount of time one should spend on the computer or mobile games? Well, there is a bad news for you!

The World Health Organization is including the gaming disorder in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) to be published in mid-2018. That means the disorder can no longer be brushed aside as something funny.

The decision on inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 is based on reviews of available evidence and 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.

The inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 follows the development of treatment programmes for people with health conditions identical to those characteristic of gaming disorder in many parts of the world, and will result in the increased attention of health professionals to the risks of development of this disorder and, accordingly, to relevant prevention and treatment measures.

Gaming disorder is defined in the draft ICD-11 as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

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.

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the basis for identification of health trends and statistics globally and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is used by medical practitioners around the world to diagnose conditions and by researchers to categorize conditions.

The inclusion of a disorder in ICD is a consideration which countries take into account when planning public health strategies and monitoring trends of disorders.

WHO is working on updating of the ICD. The 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) is scheduled for publication in mid-2018.

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behavior.

Note: This news is based on a WHO release.