Are you suffering from Too Much Gaming Disorder?

Liz Spikol of The Trouble With Spikol, posted a reader’s comments on the worst things to say to someone with depression ("Just get over it"). Here’s the excerpt that I really liked:

So please:
Don’t take pity on me. Help me love me, be my friend, my spouse, my child.
Don’t send false promises. Be real, be honest, be open.
Don’t be angry with me. I am trying my best.
Don’t ignore me. Ignoring doesn’t gaurantee immunity.
Don’t talk down to me. I’m fighting the fight of my life.
But worst of all, don’t tell me, "just get over it," "this too shall pass," "there are some worse off," or my personal favorite: "jump back on that horse!" Because by doing that you invalidate me and you lie to yourself.
All I need — all I really need — is time, your love, a shoulder, a hug, a concerned ear to listen, and a soft place to fall.


Gianna at Bipolar Blast posted on an article on how a doctors’ council will be pushing video game addiction as a mental illness at an AMA meeting. What. The. Heck. Must everything be considered a mental illness now?

CHICAGO – The telltale signs are ominous: teens holing up in their rooms, ignoring friends, family, even food and a shower, while grades plummet and belligerence soars.

The culprit isn’t alcohol or drugs. It’s video games, which for certain kids can be as powerfully addictive as heroin, some doctors contend.

A leading council of the nation’s largest doctors’ group wants to have this behavior officially classified as a psychiatric disorder, to raise awareness and enable sufferers to get insurance coverage for treatment.

In a report prepared for the American Medical Association’s annual policy meeting starting Saturday in Chicago, the council asks the group to lobby for the disorder to be included in a widely used mental illness manual created and published by the American Psychiatric Association. AMA delegates could vote on the proposal as early as Monday.

This is one of the most retarded things that I have ever heard of. I think the real issue here is addiction. I could be wrong, but is alcoholism or drug addition considered a psychiatric disorder? Wait, I’m addicted to sweets – How about the Sweet or Baked Goods Disorder? Oooh, and the sugar rush can be the Hyper Disorder. Paris Hilton needs to be the spokesperson for Attention Necessary Disorder.

Now, I understand that video games have brought about some unusual behaviors in gamers and the serious addiction has even led to death. But I think the real issue here is self-control. If you want to slap a label on the behavior, make it Impulse Control Disorder or something. Perhaps Withdrawal-Isolation Syndrome? In any event, playing video games is not the problem; the behavior that leads up to the addiction is.

Joyce Protopapas of Frisco, Texas, said her 17-year-old son, Michael, was a video addict. Over nearly two years, video and Internet games transformed him from an outgoing, academically gifted teen into a reclusive manipulator who flunked two 10th grade classes and spent several hours day and night playing a popular online video game called World of Warcraft.

"We went to therapists, we tried taking the game away," [Protopapas said]. "He would threaten us physically. He would curse and call us every name imaginable," she said. "It was as if he was possessed."

A support group called On-Line Gamers Anonymous has numerous postings on its Web site from gamers seeking help. Liz Woolley, of Harrisburg, Pa., created the site after her 21-year-old son fatally shot himself in 2001 while playing an online game she says destroyed his life.

Postings also come from adults, mostly men, who say video game addiction cost them jobs, family lives and self-esteem.

Everything in moderation, folks.

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4 Comments

  1. Alcoholism said,

    July 3, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Here’s a website you may find useful. http://www.addicted.com is a site for friends, families, and those who suffer from various addictions.

  2. Ruth said,

    July 3, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Alcoholism and drug addiction are definitely in the DSM, and the phenomenon of ‘dual diagnosis’ (i.e. addiction combined with another Axis I disorder) is all too common, although a lot of mental health services are yet to recognise this and develop integrated services (some drug & alcohol services don’t want to know you if you’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia, for example, and vice versa).
    I once spent the summer holidays playing Tetris (‘Play Again, Capitalist Pig?’) and eventually began hallucinating 3D tetronimoes locking themselves into place in every bit of spare space in every room I walked into – under the toilet, between the bed and the desk, etc etc. I thought it was terribly funny at the time (I was 13), and now even more so that I’ve just looked up Tetris on wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris#Effect_of_Tetris_on_the_brain.
    It’s probably important to mention at this point that I experienced a spontaneous remission of symptoms upon returning to school, and that no medication was required.

  3. July 5, 2007 at 8:30 am

    Ruth,
    I get those visions occasionally too. It’s probably not all that common. I found myself seeing Guitar Hero buttons on my closet door after playing for an hour or two. And I played this game called Snood (http://www.snood.com/) in college that really had my thrown for a loop for weeks.
    Thanks for letting me know that addiction is considered a psychiatric disorder. If so, then severe video gaming (I feel weird saying that) needs to be considered part of it. It shouldn’t be its own diagnosis like, oh say, SBD.

  4. Ruth said,

    July 5, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    You should also feel reassured that Sweet or Baked Goods Disorder is also one of the many compulsions currently under consideration by the DSM-V Working Group for Addictive Disorders. Other potential new diagnoses include Sudoku Addictive Disorder, and even a diagnosis that Gianna and I put forward is being seriously considered for inclusion:
    On-line Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    A pervasive pattern of behaviour, present in a variety of contexts and extending over a lengthy period of time, as exemplified by at least five of the following:
    1. Blogging after midnight at least four nights a week
    2. Revising posts a dozen times before posting
    3. Posting material that can only be rendered comprehensible in the context of at least three other blog posts (by self or others)
    4. Inappropriate emotional investment in online communications
    5. Checking blog for comments at least three times a day
    6. Involvement in ‘flame wars’ at least once a week
    7. Blogging without clothes on [had to rephrase this!]
    8. Checking technorati and site meter several times a day
    9. Being responsible for coining at least one one-line neologism (refer to Schizophrenia for differential diagnosis guidelines)
    10. (Bonus points) Having said neologism adopted by other bloggers.


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