Thursday, June 21, 2007

VIdeo Game Addiction

Now, when I was growing up, we didn't have no playstation 3, xbox 360, or a Wii. The craze was above, the classic Atari 2600 (image credit). I played that thing for hours and hours. We didn't have fifteen different buttons like the consoles today. Nope, we had the "Red Button" and a joystick (insert joke here).

I remember my first (and only) Space Invaders tournament. I got killed on the first screen. I was crushed because I practiced hours and hours before that. I guess I just froze up. I remember counting down the days until Pac-Mac was released. Ah, those memories....

Little did I know at the time, that I had a problem. I had an addiction. I had an addiciton to video games. Yes, that's right. That was the reason I didn't go out and play outside as I was growing up. That was the reason I felt an attraction to computers and technology - because I couldn't get enough of it. That's why I'm not addicted to blogging.... Uh, sure.

The American Medical Association, my professional organization, is now going to bail me out. The organization I pay hunderds of dollars each year to be a member, is now going to vote to classify Video Game Addiction as a medical diagnosis (Associated Press).
A leading council of the nation's largest doctors' group wants to have this behavior officially classified as a psychiatric disorder, to raise awareness and enable sufferers to get insurance coverage for treatment.

In a report prepared for the American Medical Association's annual policy meeting starting Saturday in Chicago, the council asks the group to lobby for the disorder to be included in a widely used mental illness manual created and published by the American Psychiatric Association. AMA delegates could vote on the proposal as early as Monday.

It likely won't happen without heated debate. Video game makers scoff at the notion that their products can cause a psychiatric disorder. Even some mental health experts say labeling the habit a formal addiction is going too far.
I definitely have an opinion on this. Now, I'm not going to deny that probably a small percentage of children, adolescents, and adults will probably qualify for this medical/psychiatric diagnosis. We've all heard stories of addictions taken too far and destroying lives.

The problem that I have is that there will be many people out there who will try to take advantage of this and blame whatever is going on in their life to video games. A move like this by the AMA is going to continue to advance the idea of a lack of personal accountability and personal responsibility that is occurring in this culture.

We're all familiar with drug addiction. But, in recent years, there has been talk about internet addiction, sex addiction, and now video game addiction. When and where is this going to stop?

There are millions of Americans in this country right now who do not have basic health insurance. This move by the AMA will make is possible for insurance companies to cover treatment for Video Game Addiction. Is this the right thing to do?

Hey AMA, what about all the uninsured in America? Did you forget about them? What are you going to do about that? Maybe the Video Game Addiction lobby is making more contributions to your coffers than the uninsured are. This entire situation does not sit well with me. We'll have to see what the AMA does next week.


SuperStenoGirl said...

You can be addicted to sex? Hrm, what's my psychiatrists number?

I think it's silly to classify video game addiction as an actual, legit, psychiatric illness. It will unfortunately create a scapegoat for many people's problems in life; "I can't get a job because of my video game addiction", "I beat up those kids because I'm addicted to video games and didn't know what I was doing!".

It'll become like the infamous Twinkie Defence. I'd say insane but that just doesn't seem to fit here :P.

On a side note, I'm addicted to Dungeon Siege, so if I start running around the hospital acting like my level 27 half-giant, destroying things, over turning stretchers and talking in broken sentences - It's not my fault. It's my addiction.

ipanema said...

I remember Atari. I used to play it with my husband.:)

Like you, I agree that getting addicted to games is personal responsibility. Likewise an addiction that would cost jobs, relationships and life to suffer is something to be addressed. But to classify this and make money out of that diagnosis doesn't solve the problem at all.

Anonymous said...

I remember the red button would stop working, so I'd take the joystick apart and fix it.

I think that rather than catagorizing addictive behaviors, we should just recognize a general addictive behavior syndrome that could apply to lots of things people do for enjoyment if it impairs the person.

Here is a question: why are addictions to books not considered bad. It has, at times, impaired my life and for some people they can hardly hold down a job because they must read.

Unknown said...

As a psychologist and mentor, I see the problem as the point of responsibility upon the parent. How many 10 year olds do each of know have the money to shell out for a game deck, game discs, game books, and performance controllers? These products are so simple of a device and given without guidelines by the parents leads to all these issues. The responsibility rest upon the parents today who bought their child Game Boy crap ten years ago and the result is a an unsociable child who has no awareness of their immediate situation at hand. They are prompted to be producers in society, but did the parents buy that character building disc at the store, that same day they bought the one where you get too kill everyone in the game too? Parents teach their children to lie and not be responsible by just doing nothing to set rules for children. As for parents how many do we know have vehicles which can cost about $40K to $60K, but did not save or spend one damn dime for their education in college. So you can see where children learn the golden rule of responsibility. Hell, the parents take better care of the pooch and feline than they do with the urchins......America. We have become so caught up in the hype of influence and do not see the crisis it spawns to be ahead of the pack.

Anonymous said...

I Dylan and I am actually working on a story about this addiction. If there is anyone who has ANY information that is creditable then please e-mail me at


online mahjong said...

Hey that pacman,anybody addicted for that.Me too.