The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to recognize gaming disorder as a mental health disease in 2018. The 11th revision of the WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is a major worldwide reference for epidemiological, clinical, and health-management issues, will include a new listing for a mental health condition termed "gaming disorder," which is related to an individual's overuse of video-game playing. Specifically, this newly classified mental health disorder is characterized by recurrent or persistent gaming behavior in an individual, resulting in the individual's significant impairment in real-life activities and functions, including the deterioration of familial, social, and professional relationships. According to WHO, the condition is manifested particularly by "impaired control over gaming," "increasing priority given to gaming," and "escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences." In many ways, gaming disorder will be diagnosed similarly to other addictive disorders. See also: Addiction and addictive disorders; Brain; Computer peripheral devices; Human-computer interaction; Mental disorders; Psychology; Video disk; Video games; Virtual reality
The ICD's entry on gaming disorder will include a clinical description of the condition, but it will not indicate any prevention and treatment options. A major diagnostic factor in the assignment of this condition will be that an individual must exhibit excessive gaming behavior for a period of at least one year. Furthermore, in cases that are sufficiently severe and in which daily functions are dramatically diminished, physicians and other health-care practitioners may include individuals who are engaging in constant gaming behaviors for shorter lengths of time.
One inherent problem in the understanding of gaming disorder is that the condition is likely to be connected to other mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Thus, the recommended methodology for treatment and amelioration must take into account the variety of factors that might underlie the persistent need to play video games. Still, the available evidence indicates that this is not a highly prevalent condition. Instead, the diagnosis of gaming disorder is estimated to affect only 1% (or less) of those individuals who play video games regularly. It is only judged to be a mental health disease when the gaming activity causes an individual to display overwhelmingly dysfunctional behaviors in his or her daily life. See also: Anxiety disorders; Depression; Motivation; Public health