And it warned that people who enjoy video games should be alert to the amount of time they spend at their hobby, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health.
"The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent", reads the WHO's classification of gaming disorder. With gaming disorder in the ICD, it will help alert medical professionals so that people who suffer from the described condition can get appropriate help. "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.
Ukie, the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, created a "gaming disorder" FAQ about the proposed inclusion, including details about what the ICD-11 list is, their concerns for classifying "gaming disorder" alongside other disorders such as alcohol, drugs and gambling, and an Open Debate paper by 36 global mental health experts, social scientists and academic scholars opposing the inclusion due to lack of scientific study.
The ICD has 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death mentioned in it which serves the objective of identifying health trends and measuring the statistics worldwide.
"ICD is a cornerstone of health information and ICD-11 will deliver an up-to-date view of the patterns of disease", said Lubna Alansari, WHO's Assistant Director-General (Health Metrics and Measurement). She went into the classifier code 6C51 - "Gaming disorder". Researchers across the world use it as reference for data, whereas doctors and other medical practitioners use it to diagnose disease and other conditions.
The ICD-11 is still under review, so its content may shift.
"We come across parents who are distraught, not only because they're seeing their child drop out of school, but because they're seeing an entire family structure fall apart", Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokeswoman for behavioral addictions at Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists, told The Associated Press.
However, this inclusion isn't being well received by all; many experts aren't convinced that gaming disorder even exists in the first place.