Study Examines Video Game “Addiction”

    April 4, 2007

Harris Interactive has released a report documenting its findings from a recent study evaluating the prevalence of video game addiction among youth. There is skepticism, however, surrounding how Harris defined the term “addiction” when conducting the survey.

It looks like Harris Interactive has finally managed to accomplish a feat that has baffled physical and mental health professionals for decades; they have defined addiction.

It’s a monumental accomplishment, to be sure. Especially given the fact that nowhere in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) will you find any mention of “addiction” as a mental health disorder.

Similarly, health care professionals have never officially given any sort of clinical legitimacy to the term, instead relying on diagnoses of chemical dependence to handle such cases.

But thanks to Harris, we now can lay to rest any controversy surrounding the definition of addiction.

The following is an excerpt from the addiction study focusing on the habits of young video gamers:

Forty-four percent of youth also report that their friends are addicted to games. With nearly 8 in 10 American youth (81%) playing video games at least one time per month, including 94 percent of all boys playing, this certainly raises concerns about video game addiction.

By following this logic, if I change my furnace filter once a month, should I check myself into a mental health facility to undergo treatment for filter addiction? By clipping my fingernails once a month, does that constitute some sort of compulsion?

On a related note, I find it impressive that forty-four percent of America’s youth have managed to acquire the psychological and clinical background necessary to diagnose “addictive” behavior. Who says the American educational system is inferior compared to the rest of the world?

Despite the groundbreaking study, the American Psychological Association (APA) has no immediate plans to incorporate the term “addiction” into upcoming versions of the DSM.