The American Medical Association will be deciding this month whether or not to recommend that video game and Internet addiction should be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, reports the Wall Street Journal on its Health Blog.
The House of Delegates, the AMA’s decision-making body, will vote on the issue later this month. If it decides that excessive gaming constitutes a mental disorder, the decision will then be passed upward to the American Psychiatric Association, which has the final say on these matters.
The decision to vote on the issue comes from a recommendation made by Mohamed K. Khan–chairman of the Council on Science and Public Health–in a 10-page report entitled “Emotional and Behavioral Effects, Including Addictive Potential, of Video Games.”
Khan writes that “although video game overuse can be associated with any type of video game,” the most common to exhibit signs of addiction were players of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, such as World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, or EverQuest.
He stated, “Current data suggest these individuals are somewhat marginalized socially, perhaps experiencing high levels of emotional loneliness and/or difficulty with real-life social interactions. Current theory is that these individuals achieve more control of their social relationships and more success in social relationships in the virtual reality realm than in real relationships.”
The report states that video game overuse most closely resembles the behaviors associated with pathological gambling. Alongside adults, dependence-like behaviors were also said to be found in children, although it was unclear whether gamers experienced traditional “withdrawal symptoms” when unable to play. The report reads, “Some excessive users do not exhibit any ‘cravings’ for the games if they are unavailable, while other users insist they cannot reduce the time they spend on the games.” -Via GameSpot