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Addiction Experts: Games Not An Addiction

Sure, video games can take up some of your time, but can they really cause a mental disorder? Doctors tried to say it was so, but now, they're "backing away" from the controversial proposal, according to Yahoo! News.

In the end, they say "more study is needed" of gamers and excessive video game use, before they can accurately consider it a "mental illness."

"There is nothing here to suggest that this is a complex physiological disease state akin to alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders, and it doesn't get to have the word addiction attached to it," said Dr. Stuart Gitlow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

Prior to this decision, a committee of the influential physicians' group had proposed video game addiction as a viable disorder to be listed in the American Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders. But before it really got going, this same committee retracted the proposal and instead recommended that the American Psychiatric Association consider adding the "disease" in 2012 after more research is done. Basically, they can't really come to a consensus as to whether or not video games are addictive.

"It's not necessarily a cause-and-effect type issue. There may be certain kids who have a compulsive component to what they are doing," Dr. Louis Kraus of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry said in an interview.

Maybe when they realize the average age of a gamer in this country is close on to 30 years of age, they might start considering adults in their research, but we digress. The AMA committee will consider all the evidence and make its final recommendation to the AMA's 555 voting delegates, and they will vote on the issue this week. As for the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), they also say more research needs to be done before video game addiction can be labeled as a "mental disorder."

6/24/2007 Ben Dutka

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