The American Medical Assn. is scheduled to debate such a proposal in Chicago on Sunday, then vote on it early next week. Backed by the Maryland State Medical Society, the proposal advocates that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, considered by many psychiatrists to be the final word for assessing mental illness, include video game addiction.
The proposal also would have doctors exhort parents to curb their children’s use of the Internet, television and video games to two hours a day. In addition, it would have the AMA, the influential physician organization with 250,000 members, lobby the Federal Trade Commission to improve the current system for rating video game content.
Getting the AMA to deem video game addiction a psychiatric disorder is the first step in a long process required to create a new mental health diagnosis. The ultimate arbiter is the American Psychiatric Assn., which publishes the authoritative DSM guide on mental disorders, currently in its fourth version. Getting APA approval could take years.
Executives in the $30-billion game industry are already on the defensive. They say the measures are not supported by scientific evidence.