Doctors in the USA are pushing to have "video game addiction" listed as a psychiatric disorder, in order to raise awarness and enable sufferers to be able to use their medical insurance to pay for treatment.
The article focuses on a case wherby an American teenager was transormed over two years, from an outgoing, academically gifted teen into a "reclusive manipulator", who flunked 10th grade. The boy was apparently addicted to World of Warcraft, and would play for several hours a day. The worried parents took the boy to therapists and tried taking the game away, which prompted a retaliation of verbal abuse and threats of physical abuse. They eventually managed to find a therapist who backed up their "video game addiction" claim and had the boy sent to a theraputic boarding school costing $US5,000 a month, for which their medical insurance would not cover as the "disorder" is not recognised.
The standard response from gamers is normally to the effect of "What a load of rubbish!". But while the majority of the population are quite capable of balancing life and games, there will always be those who take it to the extreme. In Korea, this can lead to a successful career in online sports, in China this can lead to a "gold farming" job, but in some cases it can lead to depression, and in a few isolated and extreme cases, death.
But what if video game addiction WAS classed as a medical disorder? Is there the potential that the video game industry could benifit from this, as extreme cases are caught before they go to far and are sensationalised in the media? Also, imagine being able to claim symptoms of video game addiction on your medical insurance. "Doctor, my Nintendonitis is flaring up again".