Video game addiction shot down as 'disorder'

The AMA will consider a proposal to have video game addiction officially classified as a psychiatric disorder. Bloggers say that's going way too far.

You know those gamers--they spend hours on end hulled in smelly dark rooms with controllers in hand, ignoring social norms like sitting down for meals and showering once in awhile. Perhaps they're a little too into gaming.

But if a group of prominent doctors has their way, those gamers might end up diagnosed with video game addiction , a psychiatric disorder the American Medical Association will consider for official classification at its annual policy meeting beginning this weekend, according to several press accounts.


Given the overlap between bloggers and gamers, it's no surprise that the blogosphere is up in arms about giving video game addiction an official diagnosis, which bloggers say is going too far and assigning a mental disorder to a societal problem.

Like us, they also found it interesting that the news comes on the heels of stories about a professional gaming league and video games used as therapy for mental disorders and for other noble causes.

Blog community response:

"My first reaction that proving media causation is a high bar that is not always met. (My skepticism may derive from the fact that my last game addiction was a spring break bout with Tetris in the early 90s.) Further, gaming has become such a common activity that discerning its effects is not easy."
--Media SITREP

"Great, just what folks like Jack Thompson and Lyndon LaRouche need -- more's like I've said before: some violent and/or mentally ill people play video games, but video games don't make people violent and/or mentally ill. If that was the case, there would be a lot more crazy people running around."

"Hey...didn't we have this kind of behavior BEFORE video games? Crazy Cat Ladies who lived with a thousand felines and tried to cover up their smell by rubbing themselves down with used urinal cakes?...You will always have people who don't fit into society, who find solace in something OTHER than the norm, and who will never EVER be part of usual social structures. Diagnose them, but do it correctly...I know some of you disagree, and you see video game addiction as a real thing; but I beg you to look deeper, and to see past the buzz words and finger pointing and look at the real implications of sickness."
--Ten Ton Hammer

"No doubt that parents need to watch how much and what games their kids are playing, just like with any activity they do. And adults shouldn't neglect their job, family, and health for an activity, no matter what it is. But let's just leave it at that. If it does get out of hand, then treat the underlying cause. Not blame the technology."
--Middle Raged Punk

Tech Culture
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Michelle Meyers, associate editor, has been writing and editing CNET News stories since 2005. But she's still working to shed some of her old newspaper ways, first honed when copy was actually cut and pasted. When she's not fixing typos and tightening sentences, she's working with reporters on story ideas, tracking media happenings, or freshening up CNET News' home page.


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