For over a decade, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) has not gone through major updates. Minor changes such as new code sets have been implemented, but the bulk of the ICD remained the same, until now.
The ICD, in a simplified manner, is a diagnostic tool which classifies health trends, diseases, and health conditions. The ICD is managed by the World Health Organization (WHO) which has announced that in their draft for the 11th Edition of the ICD (due out mid-2018), Gaming Disorder will be included as a healthcare issue.
According to the online Q&A which was released by WHO, Gaming Disorder is “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.”
Of course, this is hardly the first time any form of gaming disorder has come under study. in 2013 the American Psychiatric Association conducted a research on Internet Gaming Disorder, exploring the effects of internet gaming. Although the study claimed that “further research will determine if the same patterns of excessive online gaming are detected using the proposed criteria”, their initial findings found that gaming triggers the brain in the same “direct and intense way that a drug addict’s brain is affected by a particular substance”.
The studies on game addiction are not completely uncalled for, from teenagers dying from prolonged gaming sessions (2012 Diablo 3 Gamer Death) to other prioritizing gaming over gaming rather than recovering from prior ailments in 2015, Gaming Disorder is definitely not a new phenomenon.
Like most things, not everyone who engages in gaming should be concerned about Gaming Disorder. WHO’s Q&A stresses that studies suggest that Gaming Disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital or video-gaming activities. However, it isn’t a bad thing to be aware of how long you’re gaming for, game smart!