US doctors shelve game-addiction resolution

Following contentious debate, medical body calls for further study of compulsive gaming habits; issue to be reconsidered in 2012.


Last week, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced it was considering classifying chronic game playing as an addiction on par with alcoholism. Specifically, the proposal would have listed "video game addiction" in the self-explanatory American Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, which the American Psychiatric Association (APA) uses to officially diagnose mental illness.

The APA's debate resulted in a firestorm in the mainstream press, fueled in part by the high-profile Adults Only-rating of Manhunt 2 and the Resistance/Church of England kerfuffle. On Sunday, though, addiction experts at the APA meeting declined to endorse any measure equating games to drug use or problem gambling.

"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 have to have the word addiction attached to it," Dr. Stuart Gitlow, of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, told the Reuters news service.

But just because game playing wasn't certified as a mental disorder doesn't mean the issue has been laid to rest. The APA will reconsider the issue when it revises its manual in 2012.

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