View Full Version : American Medical Association Seeks to Cash In On Gamers

06-23-2007, 04:39 PM
CHICAGO — The telltale signs are ominous: teens holing up in their rooms, ignoring friends, family, even food and a shower, while grades plummet and belligerence soars.

The culprit isn't alcohol or drugs. It's video games, which for certain kids can be as powerfully addictive as heroin, some doctors contend.

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 by 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.

Michael Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, said the trade group sides with psychiatrists "who agree that this so-called 'video-game addiction' is not a mental disorder."

"The American Medical Association is making premature conclusions without the benefit of complete and thorough data," Gallagher said.

Joyce Protopapas of Frisco, Texas, said her 17-year-old son, Michael, was a video addict. Over nearly two years, video and Internet games transformed him from an outgoing, academically gifted teen into a reclusive manipulator who flunked two 10th grade classes and spent several hours day and night playing a popular online video game called World of Warcraft.

"My father was an alcoholic ... and I saw exactly the same thing" in Michael, Protopapas said. "We battled him until October of last year," she said. "We went to therapists, we tried taking the game away.

Last fall, the family found a therapist who "told us he was addicted, period." They sent Michael to a therapeutic boarding school, where he has spent the past six months — at a cost of $5,000 monthly that insurance won't cover, his mother said.

Dr. Michael Brody, head of a TV and media committee at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, agreed. He praised the AMA council for bringing attention to the problem, but said excessive video-game playing could be a symptom for other things, such as depression or social anxieties that already have their own diagnoses.

"You could make lots of behavioral things into addictions. Why stop at video gaming?" Brody asked. Why not Blackberries, cell phones, or other irritating habits, he said.

I think this is complete bull****. If Video games are a mental health danger, then why aren't Television & sports considered the same? Are people who watch too many movies addicted because they wouldn't want ignorant people on the subject to force them to quit watching movies?

This whole idea stinks like gym socks. Am I really supposed to believe that these *******s in the AMA are really looking out for us, and not trying to line their pockets on an industry that is eventually going to be bigger and more powerful than Hollywood?

Just because I prefer to spend my spare time doing something more mentally constructive than plopping my *** on the couch with a remote control- all of the sudden I have a mental disorder, but the person on the couch doesn't? My view is that these people making these kind of accusations on gaming, are simply ignorant to the whole scene.

These people are completely out of touch with our generation, and this is simply a way for the medical industry to rake in millions of dollars on an age group that largely has no way of defending itself.

06-23-2007, 06:39 PM
Agreed. Sounds like a load of crap. People can get addicting to anything.