back to article Videogaming not addictive... for now, doctors say

Think you're addicted to computer games? Think again, US addiction specialists have said. More research is needed before they will classify excessive gaming as a mental illness, the American Medical Association (AMA) was told this weekend. The judgement follows a proposal that the playing of computer games for long periods of …


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  1. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Adverse physical effects of gaming?

    Interesting to see the influence of gaming on RSI/joint issues, and eyesight, never mind the obvious problems of not being outside and doing something physical (which lots of other things could be found guilty of causing).

    Alcoholics could stumble around blindly, not able to control their limbs could gamers :D

    *clicks his wrist*

  2. Robbin Nichol

    Hmmm obviously not enough money in it yet

    Addiction is generally defined as the need/compulsion to do something despite the knowledge of the harm that indulging in the act will do to you. Now we have all seen examples on the Reg of people killing themselves by not paying attention to their bodily needs. Instead htey go for the next level Boss.

    Probably the insurance companies in the States have decided that it is BS and the docs aint gonna get any cash for such a diagnosis. Or am I just cynical.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More addictive than crack cocaine

    An anonymous post. Reason being that I'm about to bare my soul and don't want the information given in this post used against me.

    Having been addicted to many substances over the years including but not limited to heroin, cocaine and amphetamines and also being an avid gamer I think that I'm probably more qualified to comment on this subject than the doctors who ran the study.

    Gaming promotes all of the same symptoms as a drug addiction. If I'm unable to play when I need to I get irritable and short-tempered. I can play for hours and forget that the outside world exists and if I'm denied my pleasure (if, for example, I have a connectivity problem) then I become depressed.

    In my mind, there is absolutely no difference between a computer gaming addiction and an amphetamine addiction except that I don't have to inject a computer game.

    Oh, there was one other difference - my ex-wife could put up with my drug-taking habits but finally left because of the gaming.

    I am quite happy that the doctors have taken this stance though, even though they're wrong. If they could prove an addiction then I would once again be victimised against and probably taxed more for playing computer games.

    Just say NO kids!

  4. Joe


    This is just an excuse to get a research grant to fund their WoW addiction for the next 5 years!

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Watch out !

    There's surely a lawyer somewhere that will be in heated disagreement with this statement. I'm thinking of one in particular, who adores accusing gaming of being responsible for all of today's societal issues (instead of, for example, bad parenting).

  6. Andy Lount

    MMO Addiction

    A lot of studies have already been done on MMOGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Games) such as Everquest (nicknamed Evercrack for it's addictive properties) and World of Warcaft. If someone's real life is rather dull due to a boring job or personal circumstance it can be very easy to become addicted to the constant feeling of achievement within a virtual environment. If you can become a noted and respected player online this can substitute a feeling of unimportance in the real world and be a way to connect with other people.

    I am not sure if gaming as a whole can be considered addictive but in the realm of online games I would say the relative inexspensiveness compared to other forms of addiction (single low cost monthly fee) makes it very difficult once addicted, to stop; as users find it increasingly more difficult to think of alternative ways to use up the massive amounts of time spent in the online game world.

    I am left wondering what else they need to do over this 5 year period to prove this addiction. People have already been killed for their online game accounts, what has to be next?

  7. Lloyd


    I notice they didn't say whether internet porn was addictive, methinks they're changing the subject.

  8. Jonathan Nichols

    Re: More addictive than crack cocaine

    Considering your past history of addiction, do you not think that perhaps there is another underlying cause to being addicted to video games? Perhaps I misread your intentions... if so, I do apologize.

    My own belief is that the gaming "addiction" is just a symptom of deeper problems. Anyone ever heard of Aspergers? Unfortunately, thanks to Jackass Thompson and his ilk we'll probably see this pushed as far as it can go until my taxes are supporting game addiction clinics.

    To "Hmmm obviously not enough money in it yet":

    So, based on 1 guy supporting the supposed "addiction", you've determined that this is substantial evidence to proclaim playing to many games as addictive? With that reasoning should we seek help for anyone in love based on Lisa Nowak's escapades?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: More addictive than crack cocaine

    Hi Jonathan. Interesting, yet please consider the following:

    I have an addictive personality, I get addicted to things easily and therefore I am at risk of things that are addictive (and I do know the difference between an addiction and a habit). Because of this, and for whatever underlying reason, I am better qualified to tell when something is addictive and when it's not. I have to take great steps these days to avoid anything that could be addictive and videogames are one of the things that I have to avoid. You may be right in your belief that addiction is a symptom of deeper problems, however, it doesn't change the fact that people, including myself, get addicted.

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