The World Health Organisation (WHO) might classify "gaming disorder" as a mental health condition in its 2018 manual on diseases, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
In the beta draft of the WHO's 11th update of International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), gaming disorder has been included in the category of "mental, behavioural or neurodevelopmental disorders."
To warrant a diagnosis of such a disorder, one shall have "impaired control over gaming," and give "increasing priority to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities," and continue gaming "despite the occurrence of negative consequences," according to the draft.
Such a behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, and occupational life, or other important areas of functioning, says the ICD-11.
The ICD is used by health professionals globally, and serves as an international standard for defining health conditions and diseases.
Sudden deaths and physical symptoms linked to online gaming are on the rise in recent years.
In 2014, a 27-year-old Chinese woman suffered a sudden death after playing video games for over 10 consecutive hours. In 2015, a 17-year-old Russian boy was sent to emergency and died in the hospital after falling into a coma while playing video games.
He was reported to have played the games almost continuously for 22 days, only stopping to sleep and eat.