Stories tagged please help me stop my sister from playing video games

Jun
25
2007

Gaming trouble?: Can video games become addictive like alcohol or drugs? It's a question doctors and psychiatrists are looking into now as they're seeing more cases of over use of video gaming having a negative impact in some patient's lives. (Photo by cicmai09)
Gaming trouble?: Can video games become addictive like alcohol or drugs? It's a question doctors and psychiatrists are looking into now as they're seeing more cases of over use of video gaming having a negative impact in some patient's lives. (Photo by cicmai09)
I’m dating myself here, but I have to admit it, I don’t get video games.

The kids of my friends and even some of the younger people I work with rave about the latest games and the fun they have with them, but it blows right by me. I can’t see why people camp out overnight to get the latest playing systems or the hottest new games.

Now, people in the medial/psychiatric fields are taking a harder look at video games. Can excessive playing be an addiction?

Meeting over the weekend, the American Medical Association passed on making a judgment call on the situation. It’s asking the American Psychiatric Association to study the issue over the next several years to see where video gaming fits on the addiction horizon.

To tell you the truth, I haven’t got any opinion on this. I guess you could say this is a drink I’ve never drunk, a drug I’ve never tried. But some of the information I’ve read makes me see that video gaming can be a serious problem for some people.

Some counselors report increased amounts of patients coming to them with tales of excessive video gaming at the expense of other daily life activities: a mother playing games for hours ignores her baby’s cry, a university student flunking out because of too much gaming, a spouse’s vast game-playing time leading to divorce.

With some addictions, the medicine and science are obvious. Consuming alcohol or drugs alters the body’s chemistry with a short-term good feeling, but a long-term addiction. Other currently accepted addictions like gambling or sexual activity have been shown produce a chemical reaction inside the “users” body that can work like ingested chemicals.

So what about video gaming? As one person asked out in an article I saw on the issue, is compulsive playing of the games addictive to someone or is that simply a sign of another problem – boredom, depression, loneliness – that has a deeper root in the person.

The verdict reached by the medical and psychiatric groups will have a big bearing. If video gaming is ruled to be an addiction like alcoholism, drug use or gambling, insurance companies could be made liable to cover treatment programs for those diagnosed with the addiction. Work places would be made to make provisions to get people dealing with the addiction help.

So what do you think? Could excessive gaming be an addiction? Is it something less than that? Is it no big deal? Share your thoughts with other readers hear at Science Buzz.