Video game addiction a psychiatric disorder: U.S. doctors

Classification would force insurers to cover treatment costs
||Last Updated: 07/05/2007

A group of doctors in the United States wants to officially classify video game addiction as a psychiatric illness.

By giving the addiction official status in the medical field, sufferers would be eligible to receive insurance coverage for treatment.

The American Medical Association's council on science and public health wants the AMA to lobby for the disorder to be included in the American Psychiatric Association's mental illness manual.

The council found that 90 per cent of American kids play video games and as many as 15 per cent, or five million kids, may be addicted.

The council found that "dependence-like behaviours are more likely in children who start playing video games at younger ages" and that dependence is most likely to occur with multi-player, online role-playing games.

However, video game manufacturers and some mental health experts say that labelling a gaming habit an addiction is overkill. Some psychiatrists believe that excessive video-game playing is a symptom of other mental health problems such as depression or social anxiety.

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