As expected, the American Medical Association changed its mind and decided that they would not recommend that “video game addiction” be considered a serious mental disorder, similar to schizophrenia or depression. Instead, they recommended the issue be the subject of further study.
The AMA committee that first made the eyebrow raising recommendation also backed away from its own recommendation after the outcry from mental health and addiction experts from across the country.
“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.
The committee instead just suggested that the American Psychiatric Association consider the issue in its process to update the next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, slated for 2012.
Typically, disorders that need further study are placed into a special research category of the diagnostic manual, allowing researchers to collaborate on possible symptom criteria for diagnoses under debate.
Because “video game addiction” is not a recognized disorder, there is no set criteria of symptoms for the disorder. And although some media outlets are reporting that up to 10% of video game players may suffer from this condition, without agreed-upon diagnostic criteria, such estimates amount to educated guesses based upon very limited research.
Dr. Louis Kraus of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center, said it is not yet clear whether 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,” he said in an interview.