June 26, 2007 Several media outlets have reported on an upcoming vote of the American Medical Association (AMA), which could recommend that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) consider including “video game addiction” as a formal diagnosis in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Today (June 25, 2007) the APA released the following statement on “video game addiction”:
The APA defines mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Since the current edition, DSM-IV-TR, does not list “video game addiction,” the APA does not consider “video game addiction” to be a mental disorder at this time. If the science warrants it, this proposed disorder will be considered for inclusion in DSM-V, which is due to be published in 2012. Revising DSM requires a years-long, rigorous process – one that is transparent and open to suggestions from our colleagues in the medical and mental health communities and the public. All changes to DSM will be based on the latest and best science. To date, the APA has named the chair and co-chair of the DSM-V Task Force – David Kupfer, M.D., and Darrel Regier, M.D., M.P.H., respectively – and is in the process of establishing the full task force, which will have overall responsibility for DSM-V’s development.
Psychiatrists are concerned about the wellbeing of children who spend so much time with video games that they fail to develop friendships, get appropriate outdoor exercise or suffer in their schoolwork. Certainly a child who spends an excessive amount of time playing video games may be exposed to violence and may be at higher risks for behavioral and other health problems. We look forward to further exploring this issue with our colleagues at the AMA House of Delegates meeting.
About the American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose more than 38,000 physician members specialize in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at http://www.psych.org and http://www.HealthyMinds.org.
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