WHO To Include Gaming Disorder As Mental Condition in 2018

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Can playing video games obsessively lead to mental health disorder? Well, research experts think so. This is because the World Health Organization is planning on including gaming disorder into its list of mental health conditions in 2018. This means that those your addictions to extensive hours of game play will soon be seen as a mental condition come year 2018.

In a draft document due to be presented at the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) in 2018, the WHO is calling on experts globally to contribute and make proposals for improvement to the ICD-11 document.

The ICD-11 draft document categorize gaming disorder under “disorders due to additive behaviours”.

It further describes Gaming disorder as being characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior, whether ‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’, which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline.

The document suggests that gaming disorder could be manifested by impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context) or by increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; or by continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

The draft document reads in part: “The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.”

According to a CNN report on same subject, “video game playing, either online or offline, must be “normally evident over a period of at least 12 months” for this diagnosis to be made, according to the beta draft guidance. However, if symptoms are severe and all requirements are met, health care professionals may include people who have been playing for shorter periods of time, the draft reads.

Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO, has said that the ICD-11 inclusion of gaming disorder “includes only a clinical description and not prevention and treatment options.” Hartl further described the ICD as 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.”


Gaming disorder is a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior online or offline, manifested by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to include Gaming disorder in their diagnostic manual, the International Classification of Diseases. Gaming disorder alongside gambling disorder will be classified under “Disorders Due to Addictive Behaviors” in 2018.


The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the international “standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes”. Its full official name is International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

The ICD is maintained by the World Health Organization (WHO), the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations System. The ICD is designed as a health care classification system, providing a system of diagnostic codes for classifying diseases, including nuanced classifications of a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease.



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  1. Collins Eban

    Just when i thought I’ve seen it all, then this. If that is the case, then swimming, listening to music, reading, watching movies or anything that is seen as a hobby should be considered as a disorder in some way. I understand that gaming excessively isn’t good, but then considering it as a mental disorder is like that it too far

  2. davis

    O my not long, I saw a post saying gaming is actually a way out for depressed individuals and now it’s a route to the mental home…..I guess I’ve got to shut my ears to some of these so called researchers.


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