For the first time, the World Health Organization is adding Gaming disorder to the section on Mental and Addictive Disorders in its new International Classification of Diseases. The ICD provides data on the causes of thousands of diseases, injuries and deaths across the globe and information on prevention and treatment.
The International Classification of Diseases was last revised 28 years ago.
Changes, which have occurred since then are reflected in this edition. Gaming disorder has been added to the section on mental and addictive disorders because demand for services to tackle this condition has been growing.
Gaming disorders usually are linked to a system of rewards or incentives, such as accumulating points in competition with others or winning money. These games are commonly played on electronic and video devices.
WHO officials say statistics, mainly from East and South Asian countries, show only a very small two to three percent of people are addicted to Gaming.
Director of WHO’s Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Shekhar Saxena, describes some of the warning signs of addictive Gaming behavior.
“Be careful if the person you are with, a child or another person is using Gaming in an excessive manner… If it is consuming too much time and if it is interfering with the expected functions of the person, whether it is studies, whether it is socialization, whether it is work, then you need to be cautious and perhaps seek help,” said Saxena.
In the previous WHO classification, gender identity disorders, such as transsexualism were listed under mental and behavioral conditions. Saxena says this now has been moved to the chapter on disorders of sexual behavior along with some other conditions.
“The people with gender identity disorder should be not categorized as a mental disorder because in many cases, in many countries it can be stigmatizing, and it can actually decrease their chances of seeking help because of legal provisions in many countries,” said Saxena.
A new chapter also has been added on traditional medicine. Although traditional medicine is used by millions of people worldwide, it never before has been classified by WHO in this system.