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AMA pushes for video game addiction as diagnosable disorder


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AMA pushes for video game addiction as diagnosable disorder

By Dorsey Griffith - Bee Medical Writer

Published 12:19 pm PDT Thursday, June 21, 2007

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Excessive video game playing sure can be a problem. But an addiction like any other?

The distinction is a matter of fierce debate, which is about to intensify as the American Medical Association prepares to push for a formal designation of internet/video game addiction as a diagnosable psychiatric disorder.

The addiction diagnosis is one of six video gaming recommendations the AMA will consider this weekend at its annual meeting in Chicago. The recommendations are part of a research report developed by the organization's Council on Science and Public Health.

Although adoption of the recommendations would not immediately change existing laws or pyschiatric diagnoses and treatment, a tough stand from the nation's largest doctor group eventually could have a big impact on everything from how games are rated to how doctors respond when patients complain about the effects of video game overuse.

"Maybe we can get parents to take a greater interest in what their kids are doing upstairs for several hours, not only to prevent addiciton, but to have better oversight over what they are watching on TV, what video games they are playing or reading on the Internet," said Dr. Martin Wasserman, executive director of the Maryland State Mediical Society, who introduced the proposal to the AMA in 2006.

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Is TV addiction a recognized disorder yet? I really think that one should come first.

Though in any case IF this were to pass, I think it should only apply to the extremes, where it interferes with the basic needs of a human(ie not eating, sleeping, etc). Otherwise schools are going to start referring kids to psychiatrists just because they play games instead of doing homework. That`s not addiction, it`s just lack of discipline and something that parents, not doctors and pills should handle.

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"Maybe we can get parents to take a greater interest in what their kids are doing upstairs for several hours

Huh? Only several hours of gaming? That's not addiction. Playing World of Warcraft non-stop for weeks at a time is, however.

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Anyone who's followed the current trend in Korea knows that video game/online addiction is a real and sometimes serious problem. If this were to be implemented in the DSM-V (coming out in 2012), which will be the next version of the psychiatrist's big book of diagnosable disorders, they would most certainly put a clause such as _causes social and occupational impairment in functioning_ which they always add as an addendum. As a future psychiatrist, I will be treating this as addiction is my specialty! :)

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The medical case would not be video game addiction specifically. There isn't a real medical condition for addiction. The closest I can think of is OCD or something along the lines of a psychological defect. The general public gets way too many hard-ons when video games are involved whether it be in a positive for negative light. Jack Thompson, I'm fucking looking at you.

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I've read about a rehab clinic in Amsterdam, where they have got their hands full on kids who got send there by their parents. I'm guessing we're talking about real bad cases.

But yeah, games were made to be addictive. Being very addictive would make you throw in another quarter in the machine and try again. And although this could be a bit "problematic", i'm sure that there are people that know when to stop. And some who don't. The latter could be considerd "addicted", but isn't that with everything? Like mentioned above, television?

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This is just another excuse to get something else thrown into insurance coverage. Insurance is the only reason it is even being brought up, otherwise it would just be treated as any other addiction, which usually boils down to some other problem (depression, self esteem, being a lazy douche).

There are a lot of parents who don't want to take responsibility for their children, and a lot of psychs/pharms that would like to profit from parental laziness with a pill or thirty minute weekly session.

The prime candidates for this will be definite introverts and considered nerds/geeks. Since that clique has the most worrisome parents (mentally) then they will be extremely easy to coerce into blowing a fortune on medications. I use the early 90s and ADD as an example. Any child that had trouble concentrating for an hour straight was deemed ADD and the ISD would suggest (read: strongly suggest) medications.

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No videogame addiction thread is complete without a link to this video.

I think a lot of these "addictions," internet addiction, gaming addiction, etc, should all just be rolled up into one type of "media addiction." In my experience though, it seems more related to a type of depression or sociopathic disorder than anything else. I don't think videogames are inherently "addictive," at least not in a harmful way. I have, however, spent the night playing a brand new game on occasion, starting at, say, 9 PM and then glancing over at the clock to see 4:30 AM. However, I've also been in the same situation with a book, a TV series or anime, and the internet. Which is why I think the root of all these "addictions" is probably the same. Dunno why everyone wants to single out videogames.

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I don't know. I think of the problem more as a bad habit than as an actual addiction. Your body doesn't develop a need for videogames that, if the need is not met, causes your body to start experiencing withdrawal symptoms like with a drug or alcohol addiction. If a videogame "addict" is taken away from his games he would, of course, be sad. He would be forlorn, even angry. But his body wouldn't rebel against him.

Then again, compulsive gambling is widely considered to be an addiction, so maybe my argument has no merit. Maybe.

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No, I agree completely that the word "addiction" is bandied about far too often and incorrectly most of the time. It is a relatively new trend and not many question its use because the majority of humanity assumes that our collective knowledge grows instead of merely being rehashed and reinterpreted.

I don't view bad habits as being addictions for the reasons you mentioned. Kids are not addicted to one form of entertainment over another any more than I am addicted to eating sushi over curry. Hell, less people get hurt over video games than football.

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Funny.. my father and I were just talking about something similar to this.. and when I brought it up to him he's getting a good laugh. Gaming as an addiction is a bit far fetched.. the argument I still stand by is it isn't a case of "addiction" It's more the fact we as people just don't know when to stop. As I explained to my father, he grew up in a household of himself, his parents, and 4 brothers and a sister. To make ends meet, they spent their free time during the day working in their family garden growing food for them all to eat, and then the fall canning everything. They had little free time to sit down and turn on the TV for more than an hour or so tops.

Now comparing his generation to ours, things have become far easier. Higher paying jobs make it easier to get by, and as such we have extra time. Some prefer to kill that time through video games, others TV.. and then you have those who prefer to work out and such.. or even use religion to fill that time slot. And when you get people who do any of these things, quite a few of them go too far with it. I wouldn't call this an addiction honestly, what ends up happening.. as people is that we over indulge ourselves. We don't know when to stop. For example, the big fight over obesity here in the US. People aren't content with just one hamburger, or one plate of food. We enjoy our, "All you can eat" deals, or three double cheeseburgers from the 99 cent menu.. We have to have our steak thick and juicy. But that's how we have to have everything.

Someone else here also mentioned kids who play games instead of doing homework as lack of discipline.. I agree with you whole heartedly. Those who shirk responsibility like that have on their own free will chosen their priorities of gaming first, and work of any kind second. I'm a huge gamer.. I love it. I honestly spend my free time after work playing games like WoW, Ragnarok Online. Or just some random console game. I remember my summers off when I got ahold of games like Final Fantasy X, where I stayed up for two straight nights playing the game. It was my choice, the game didn't stick a knife to my back and tell me to do it or pay the price. I willingly continued to play as the game was stimulating my mind. I wanted to know what happened next in the story, I wanted to learn that nice new skill on my sphere grid, and in my mind I chose my priorities of the game first, sleep second.

Bringing up MMO's yeah I was heavily involved to WoW, Diablo 2, Everquest, and a slew of other games. (I'm aware Diablo 2 was an online multiplayer, not an MMO.) Through each that I've spent countless hours playing, WoW for example, went 5 days no sleep by choice. I did however keep myself fed, bathed, and well hydrated. Those were my chosen priorities, others however put the thrill of the game, and what it had to offer before their own basic needs. If anything I'd honestly say the fact they neglect they need the basics of food, water, and rest more a disorder than the "addiction of gaming."

But yeah.. that's my rant.. With technology giving us more and more free time, we spend it as we choose. Some of us prioritize our facination of gaming within reason, just like we do with our food, our TV time and such.. We're reasonable. And then you have others who blindly disregard their responsibility, and the safety of their lives to over indulge. But that's my two cents.

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If gaming is an addiction than the Army better fetch me a psychologist before I develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to lack of so called addicting substance...... or idea..... while in a combat zone. Seriously, if gaming was an addiction I'd be fucked out in Iraq.... and on my vacation. Cause I got no games with me right now and when I get back I won't have time to play for at least two months. I can already feel my hands shaking with anxiety..... I swear, sometimes I think I'm gettin blown up and shot at to protect idiots like these. Maybe the AMA needs to do a little more in-depth study instead of just talkin through their asses. The problem is it's run by older people who, in most cases, didn't have games when younger. So they don't like them since they watch younger kids play games instead of goin for that highschool football championship that everyone in their day aspired for since they had nothin better to do with their time. I agree with you guys. Gaming is just another way of spending time. Just like the internet, TV, movies, music, lifting, running, martial arts, singing, and anything else that a person could do to spend their free time entertaining themselves. After being in Iraq for six months and not having almost any of those things, besides lifting and running, I can tell you from experience that even though I was disappointed it didn't make me stop in the middle of a fire fight and start shakin uncontrollably.

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If gaming is an addiction than the Army better fetch me a psychologist before I develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to lack of so called addicting substance...... or idea..... while in a combat zone. Seriously, if gaming was an addiction I'd be fucked out in Iraq.... and on my vacation. Cause I got no games with me right now and when I get back I won't have time to play for at least two months. I can already feel my hands shaking with anxiety..... I swear, sometimes I think I'm gettin blown up and shot at to protect idiots like these.

Maybe... you're not addicted? (Come to think of it, you do sound a bit angsty.)

Maybe the AMA needs to do a little more in-depth study instead of just talkin through their asses.

They are?

The problem is it's run by older people who, in most cases, didn't have games when younger. So they don't like them since they watch younger kids play games instead of goin for that highschool football championship that everyone in their day aspired for since they had nothin better to do with their time. I agree with you guys.

Games have been around since the 1980s, do the math, video game generation kids are now doctors.

Gaming is just another way of spending time. Just like the internet, TV, movies, music, lifting, running, martial arts, singing, and anything else that a person could do to spend their free time entertaining themselves.

Gambling, drinking, pornography...

After being in Iraq for six months and not having almost any of those things, besides lifting and running, I can tell you from experience that even though I was disappointed it didn't make me stop in the middle of a fire fight and start shakin uncontrollably.

Good for you, your case-study doesn't exactly prove that it's not possible to be addicted to video games.

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Addiction suggests that one would go through withdrawal symptoms if deprived of the addicted substance (or game in this case.)

I'd like to see if anyone shows physical withdrawal symptoms if kept away from video games after being diagnosed as "addicted".

Believe it or not... I have.

I went through the whole basic training... six weeks without videogames or internet. For a good portion of the time, I shook for no reason, I couldn't sleep no matter how tired I was, I developed headaches for no apparent cause, etc. It is possible to become addicted to videogames.

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id really only apply this to mmos

and in which case it definitely does apply

I think it should only apply to the extremes, where it interferes with the basic needs of a human(ie not eating, sleeping, etc). Otherwise schools are going to start referring kids to psychiatrists just because they play games instead of doing homework. T

Huh? Only several hours of gaming? That's not addiction. Playing World of Warcraft non-stop for weeks at a time is, however.

Indeed, A friend of mine (24y/o) fakes being sick, so he can miss work and do some raids on WoW, plays for hours on end (on his days off, that is all he does (around 12+hrs)), hes car broke down around 2+ years ago and hasnt repaired it back cuz of WoW, at work all he talks about is WoW, his entire life is centered around WoW.

I can positively say that hes addicted.

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i just wanted to chime in and correct something that everyone seems to be confusing. Lots of you are saying that if you don't play video games for awhile, you don't get withdrawal symptoms, such as you would if you were "addicted" to alcohol. But you're not using the medically correct terminology. Having withdrawal symptoms is known as "dependence" not addiction. Hence someone with alcohol tolerance/withdrawal has a diagnosis of alcohol dependence (303.90 in the DSM). The word addiction isn't really used in medicine because of the public's confusion with it. And what the AMA is debating isn't just your typical "billy played WOW for 5 hours last night", it's more of your "billy hasn't eaten in 3 days and is getting dehydrated, has electrolyte imbalances, and is suffering an acute delirious episode secondary to a 5 day WOW binge. As for making money off drugs, my guess is SSRI's would be used to treat this problem, and for those of you who don't know, SSRI's like Prozac are now generic and among the cheapest drugs out there, so it's not really a matter of money for the pharm companies anymore. They could probably care less. Video game impotence however, that would probably interest them a lot more.

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Based on what I've read I think the AMA is on the right track here. Certain people have experienced major problems in the way they use video games and it's nice to see that the AMA is trying to address this. Good for them.

Yes, but the general public won't be so happy to hear this. Gaming already has a bad name due to certain school-shootings, WoW, and game-related deaths.

After hearing that gaming might actually become an addiction, gamers will be considered to be even more of "outsiders".

Well, i am overreacting a bit, but the bottom line is that this might turn out negatively for gamers.

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