Addiction Experts Say No To Video Game Addict Classification

from the you-want-what-now? dept

We mocked the recent attempt to get “video game addiction” classified as a medical disorder, and it appears that addiction experts agree. At the latest American Medical Association meeting, various addiction experts came down strongly against the proposal, noting that a lot more research needed to be done and that there was “nothing to suggest” that video game addiction “is a complex physiological disease state.” The various news articles on this make it pretty clear that this was probably just an attempt by some doctors to be able to get insurance companies to cover “treatment” for a bogus classification, rather than to spend more time figuring out if there was a more important “root cause” to the compulsive video gaming. It’s nice to see addiction experts resist this claim — and hopefully they’ll remind people to stop calling everything an addiction.

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Comments on “Addiction Experts Say No To Video Game Addict Classification”

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Ed (profile) says:

Techdirt should get rid of you. Go work in the White House. If you run Techdirt; well don’t worry, I won’t be giving you web traffic for advertising. Horribly argued “points” on “news” that is days late anyway. I guess you know all so if you say it’s not an addiction; it isn’t. You are the beginning and end of all knowledge.
Yawn. Bye Techdirt!
I can form my own opinions thank you; this site doesn’t need to do it for me.
A bunch of simple minded sheep must be running this site.
Get some unbiased posters; I’m not interested in some random guy sitting behind his computer and what his personal opinions are. I thought maybe some Tech news would come across here sometimes; but there is nothing I don’t see on BBC or CNN anyway; days before it’s posted here.. and without some random guys’ uninformed opinion.

To suggest that there is no form of addiction in video games is just plain wrong. No, not everyone that plays a lot of hours would classify as addicted; but to suggest that someone will get as addicted to a MMO where you create another version of yourself and live it out in a fantasy world, can create a new identity, can make a name for yourself not based on your looks, gender, race, anything; as to school or work.. is just plain stupid. Won’t be back to this site. Obesity is a medical problem.. but the possibility that someone could get addicted to video games isn’t considered? Just put down the damn sandwich and go outside; seems the same to me. Alcohol is legal and forms addictions; but hey lets keep selling that to the public so people can be murdered and husbands can beat their wives; it’s ok. Why don’t they just put down the bottle? Maybe there are underlying problems that cause people to become alcoholics that should be looked at. Oh no look out, here comes the the great Bearded Man to strike me down from his throne in the sky.

Too simple minded for me here; GL with your site though.

TheDock22 says:

Re: Re:

To Ed (otherwise known as Ranting Loser)

To suggest that there is no form of addiction in video games is just plain wrong.
Hmm…that is not the viewpoint of the medical community. Are you a conspirist or something?

but to suggest that someone will get as addicted to a MMO where you create another version of yourself and live it out in a fantasy world, can create a new identity, can make a name for yourself not based on your looks, gender, race, anything; as to school or work.. is just plain stupid

As addicted? I did not realize there are different levels of addiction. One thing that is interesting to note about video game “addictions” is that many people who immerse themselves in these games to the point of ignoring everyday life already have legitimate psychological conditions (depression, anxiety, etc.). I would like to see a study of how many video game addicts have mental problems.

Obesity is a medical problem.. but the possibility that someone could get addicted to video games isn’t considered?

Difference here: obesity is a PHYSICAL mental problem cause by severe mental issues. How can a video game hurt you physically? Hand cramps? Although maybe you are saying video game addictions is along the lines of gambling addiction…although you aren’t losing insane amounts of money you might still get the same adrenaline rush from it.

Maybe there are underlying problems that cause people to become alcoholics that should be looked at.
Actually, there are. The medical community has confirmed this and I assure you they are working on it.

Too simple minded for me here
I love this statement. He claims this site is simple minded and yet offers no in-depth explanation to why he chose his side. If this site is simple minded, we are dealing with a four-year-old.

I personally think video games are just a crutch and an excuse for people who already have mental defects. Just the people who use it as an excuse that is, I play my share of video games and I’m perfectly fine.

PhysicsGuy says:

Re: Re:

Nobody is saying that there isn’t any form of addiction to playing video games. What’s being said is that video game addiction shouldn’t be classified as its own separate addiction. any reward-based task system can be addictive, this includes board games, sports, or work. i’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “workaholic,” people do get “addicted” to work. do you think the AMA should classify work addiction as its own separate disorder?

this leads, naturally to the next simple minded statement.

Maybe there are underlying problems that cause people to become alcoholics that should be looked at.

yes, in fact, the same underlying problems would be identical to the aforementioned task-reward system for many people addicted to alcohol: drink a beer (task), get drunk (reward). what really distinguishes the addictive nature of alcohol, however, is, even if a person despised it and hated to drink it, if you forced alcohol upon someone, over a long enough period of time, they would be addicted to it. alcohol causes physical changes that create a dependency for it. it’s not someone who merely has an obsession over something, it’s someone whose internal processes are dependent upon a foreign substance; that is the difference between a real addiction and an underlying psychological cause that can set the stage for addiction. so now, we come to the final socratic question: do you think one could play video games to the point that when one stopped the body would undergo physical withdrawal symptoms?

Sagenth says:

Re: Re:

Incase you get an email for this and come to read the reply on your reply..
You are yourself a jackass. If you truly didn’t need someone else to form opinions for you, you would realize that this site is just as important to coming up with your own opinions on anything as any other corrupt media outlet is. That is what being informed means, knowing the opinions of all those random jackasses making pointless comments.

So you are the simple mind, whether or not this site is or not, you definitely are.

BTW nothing is addictive.. People are addicted to being addicted, to being entertained, to being in a state of entertainment..
People dislike thinking too hard, because they think it will be boring. We like to have fun, to laugh, to love, to endulge our emotions and feelings. So anybody who is all about thinking, all they’ve gotta do is make a good lie, and they can control all these people. Oh yey I’m probably a slave because the entire world is all about entertainment.

What happened to viewing food as the real important matter in life? If it weren’t for somebody farming and gathering and preparing it we would each have to do it ourselves, and have very little time for entertainment, or thought. Maybe not so much the thought, but certainly the entertainment

rEdEyEz says:

Ed: Rantings of a Madman

Dude, you need help. Pray tell, are you addicted to masterbation, as well? Get out of the basement and get a life!

…on topic,

When business gets slow, or funding begins to run out; What to do? what to do?

Hey, I know, let’s create a new syndrome/law/global catastrophe to garner some paranoia/support from the rubes.

Yeah, that’s it.

Good to see the AMA calling BS when it sees it, instead of baiting “concerned parents” and hypochondriacs.

OPR8R says:

I have to agree with one of the points made in this blog. These days everything is an addiction. My sister drinks a lot of Coke Zero so she’s addicted. A friend of mine really loves shopping so she’s addicted too. Sometimes people just lack self control, or they’re just choosing to do one thing over other things because they find it more enjoyable. That’s not to say there’s merit to the idea of MMO addiction though…

PhysicsGuy says:

Re: Correction...

don’t confuse addiction with obsession.

obsession – compulsion: an irrational motive for performing trivial or repetitive actions against your will

now, to say the least the object of MMOs is certainly trivial and repetitive. however, when a person grows tired of the game but still continues to play while at the same time begrudging what they’re doing (sound like anyone you ever heard of? ;)), that’s an obsession.

sendeth says:

they don't play games

they never met big brad that LIVED for weeks at a time on evercrack. the greedy bastard even turned down free weed!!! tell me that is not an addiction.

they obviously have not really gotten into video games (which is probably good). if you will excuse me, shadowrun is calling. i pick up overlord and vampire rain in a few days. like a kid waiting for christmas….

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Ed..and all of you replying

He’s addicted to trolling.

Video games are not an addiction it’s an obsession.
obesity is not a disease it’s a condition.
alcoholism is not a disease its an addiction.

Obesity and alcoholism were declared diseases so why not video game addiction? (end sarcasm)

Buzz (profile) says:


Hi, I’m a biased Techdirt reader. I agree with everything posted here because my children are being held hostages by Techdirt executives, and if I don’t come online and post supporting comments under their blogs, my kids are beaten with a rubber duck. … (end sarcasm)

Yes, I love it when people call us readers biased and unable to form our own opinions. People are addicted to video games no more than people are addicted to TV. Why is there no addiction to people who watch TV? To be honest, I know many people who strongly dislike video games (they make exceptions for Wii parties), but they blow hours watching mind-numbing TV shows. Why is the video game community being targeted over the TV-watching crowd?

Android says:

Not addiction but Flow...

Jenova Chen, in an article in Interactions (ACM journal on Computer Human Interaction) references Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work on Creativity and Flow as the primary reason that computer games are so, dare I use the word, addictive.

He states that computer games satisfy the 8 primary characterstics required to reach the state of Flow. Flow is the mental state that we all have reached when we are really into something, mabye a great coding problem is a good example. The greatest minds in history have harnessed this state to solve thier passion driven goals. People like Einstien and Madam Curie come to mind.

The major components of flow are:

1. A challenging activity requiring skill
2. A merging of action and awareness
3. Clear goals
4. Direct, immediate feedback
5. Concentration on the task at hand
6. A sense of self control
7. A los of seld-consciousness
8. An altered sense of time

Basically great games put us in “the zone.” The theme of the game dictates which zone we are in. Is it addiction? Maybe for some people. My 14 year son could spend hours of his existence in dark hole in “the zone.”

e says:

I’ve spent, roughly estimated, 8400 hours on playing World of Warcraft. Does it matter if I call it obsession or addiction? It’s no less of a problem no matter what you chose to call it. So mock this rating-suggestion all you want, but the original intention was probably to make it easier for the hundreds of thousands of people like me. May they burn for their sins of trying to help people.

Linda says:

Video Games, not an addiction??? Think again!

I have a lot of experience with video game addiction, because I lived with a video game addict for almost twenty years. That would be my son! If you think addiction is only derived from something physical, you are absolutely wrong, addiction is addiction, and mind addiction may have no physical side effects, but it has plenty of emotional ones, that can take your life down, in the same way as drugs and alcohol can!
My son started playing video games when he was three years old. He picked up on any game he played liked an expert, and we, as his parents were so impressed! Back then, we as parents, read articles that video games increase a child’s hand and eye coordination, and can be a greatlearning tool! What we should have bought into was the articles that claimed that video games could become a dangerous addiction. Over the years, I reaped plenty of what I sowed, after allowing my son to stay on the games for hours and hours. This was selfish on my part, and a horrible mistake I made as a mother, I mean after all, I could get so much more done around the house! It was a great babysitting tool, and any mother who is honest with themselves, will admit, this is how it all started, because as parents, we allowed it! As my son was still young, I could use his gaming, as a manipulating tool, like…”If you don’t do your homework, no video games..or “If you don’t clean your room…no video games”, and on and on it went.. and it worked! Until High School???
As he got older the games took over his whole life. His grades kept sinking lower and lower, I had him in extra credit classes, after school, Saturday school, school at the College, and no matter what I did, if I took his games away, just like a junkie, he would lash out at me, frantically pulling open drawers and closet doors, ripping things out everywhere to find where I hid them, we had battles all the time! So, finally, being at my wits end, I sent him to his fathers up North! (I was then a single Mom) He hated it so much up there, that this time, he had one last chance…and I told him..” If you come back home, and you cannot get your life back in order, graduate high school, get a job, start college…conduct some normality in your life.. you will stay there!” So finally, he came home and enrolled in the college to get his HS degree, started college courses, had a part time job, and I wish I could tell you that it was a happily ever after, story, but with any addiction that is not cured, it only manifests into other things, and so it did! The games started all over again,,he had girlfriends, but he had problems keeping them, problems keeping jobs, and now as it stands, he is now living with a another girl, had a beautiful daughter, whom I love with all of my heart, and now he just lost his job again, and when I go over there, what do I see? I see both him and his girlfriend, one computer, one laptop, doing it now together, while my granddaughter wonders around looking for a real grown up to turn to. So please, please don’t ever say this is not an addiction, and if there isn’t any rehabs for this emotional destruction, there very well should be! Why do people drink? Why do people take drugs? Why do people play video games? To run away from life! That’s addiction! So if you are a gamer, and this life, sounds a bit like yours???? You’re an addict! And if you’re a mom, and you sound like me, don’t let this get out of hand like I did! So to all you so called “I like video games, but I’m not a “Gamer”? You can stop, right here, right now, and what I would suggest to any video game addict? If you want your life back? Take all your games, pack them away, far, far away, until you conquer what it is you’re running away from in the first place? The real world perhaps? A real grown up life? You cannot control the world!!! But, when you are in control of yourself, you become a much bigger person…. in life!

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