World Health Organisation classifies gaming as addiction


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified gaming as an addiction in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 11. This is as per the draft of the new document that was released last year.

The ICD is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide, and contains around 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death. It provides a common language that allows health professionals to share health information across the globe.

ICD-11 will be presented at the World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by Member States, and will come into effect on January 1, 2022. The present version also has for the first time a chapter on traditional systems of medicine. This could pave the way for such treatments to be covered by insurance as insurance reimbursements are also based on ICD coding.

WHO defines gaming disorder 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 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.