WHO says excessive video gaming a disorder

MANILA — Excessive playing of video games is now considered a disorder needing medical treatment, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

The WHO announced recently that it is including “gaming disorder” in its 11th Revision of International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) used by medical doctors worldwide to diagnose the conditions of patients.

According to the WHO, it is in the process of updating data and will come up with ICD-11 in the middle of this year.

The inclusion of a disorder in ICD-11, the WHO said, allows countries to plan out public health strategies and monitor the trends of disorders.

In the draft ICD-11, gaming disorder is defined as a pattern of digital or video gaming characterized by impaired control over it and giving it priority over other daily activities.

For the gaming disorder to be diagnosed, WHO said, behavior pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational and occupational functioning for at least 12 months.

WHO decided to include gaming disorder in ICD-11 after reviews of available evidence and consensus among experts.

“The inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 follows the development of treatment program for people with such health condition in many parts of the world,” WHO said.

With the new development, WHO expressed hope that health professionals would become more aware of the disorder, be able to come up with appropriate treatment, and help people avoid the condition.

At this time, WHO said, only a small number of people engaged in video gaming have developed the disorder.

However, WHO said, people who play video games should be conscious of the time they spend on such activity as well its effects on their physical and psychological functioning.