According to a report in the German medical journal »Ärzteblatt«, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided at its annual meeting that compulsive sexual behavior and online gaming addiction can also be diagnosed as diseases (ICD-11) in the future. This is the first time in 30 years that the catalog containing 55,000 diseases has been revised.
The WHO is reorganizing its catalog of the International Classification of Diseases. With immediate effect, compulsive sexual behavior and online gaming addiction are also recognized diseases.
The »Ärzteblatt« writes: »In future, doctors will record their diagnoses with new codes. It will be ‘6C51’ for pathological video or online gaming and ‘6C72’ for compulsive sexual behavior. This allows more precise statistics to be compiled and health trends to be better documented (…)«
Robert Jakob is Group Leader Classifications (ICD) at the WHO and says of the actual purpose of the changes and additions: »This will allow us to determine where the development of new antibiotics is particularly urgent.« After all, the listing of the two headling creating diseases is only a tiny aspect of the reorganization.
The inclusion of the two new diseases remains controversial
The video game industry is running havoc against the classification, while the porn industry is keeping a low profile on this. Criticism is mainly directed at the difficulty of diagnosing these diseases. An additional manual explains what is meant by the new diseases and that excessive consumption of pornography or telephone sex can also count as compulsive sexual behavior.
But it is difficult to determine when something is excessive and obsessive. According to Ärzteblatt, the current wording is that compulsive sexual behavior should be diagnosed »when people cannot control intense, recurrent sexual impulses over prolonged periods of time and when this affects their family, professional or social life«.
Frequency, time and social aspects are important criteria
The WHO also defines a time period. Once a person subordinates all other aspects of his life to gaming or sexual behavior over a period of more than twelve months, another criterion is met to diagnose the disease. Other criteria include the loss of friends and neglect of personal hygiene.
At the same time, however, one wants to avoid automatically diagnosing frequent consumers as ill. A WHO representative puts it this way: »There is no reason to remove pathological gaming from the catalog. On the other hand, no one who simply plays a lot and spends a lot of time on the computer or mobile phone can be described as ill.«