Gaming Disorder Will Be Classified as Mental Condition by May

But here's why health providers, patients, and family members shouldn't get worked up about it just yet

The 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) — the coding system used by health care providers and researchers the world over — will include gaming disorder. The ICD-11 is slated for release this May.

The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that the affliction coded as 6C71 in the draft affects only a small portion of video and digital gamers. The group warns, however, that for those who do suffer from gaming disorder, the negative impact is seen across a number of dimensions. It includes significantly impaired “personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

For the condition to be officially diagnosed, it would have been evident for at least 12 months in most situations. Exceptions to the duration criteria can be made if the symptoms are severe and the other criteria for diagnosis are met.

The WHO’s ICD-11 draft document includes the condition within the overarching category of “disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors,” which itself is a subcategory of “mental, behavioral or neurodevelopmental disorders.”

Other conditions in the addictions category include substance-use disorders and gambling disorder.

A related but distinct listing is also provided for hazardous gaming, or QF12. Hazardous gaming’s parent category refers to “problems associated with health behaviors,” and is characterized by “a pattern of gaming, either online or offline, that appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to the individual or to others around this individual.”

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Though these gaming conditions are to be added to the latest iteration of the ICD to be released in May, anyone immediately rushing to the doctor to secure a diagnosis is likely to meet with disappointment.

Healthcare IT News reminds patients and the health provider community that the transition from ICD-9 to the (current) ICD-10 took decades, literally.

The ICD-10 was finalized in 1992. The deadline for the final swap over was Oct. 1, 2015.

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

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