AMA Weighing Addictive Nature of Video Gaming

Those sentiments were backed up by Thomas McLellan of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Studies of Addiction, who sits on the committee for the next edition of DSM.

"I'd have to have a little more evidence that it meets the criteria [for addiction]," said.

In order for something to be addictive, McLellan explained, it must produce withdrawal symptoms when it is taken away. Furthermore, as someone who is addicted continues to use it, he or she needs more and more to reach a level of temporary satisfaction.

Troubled Gamers Lack Support

But others are already convinced.

Jeff Georgi, clinical director of the Duke Addictions Program at Duke University, said he has already seen several patients whose overuse of video games has led their lives down the same path as alcohol and drug addicts.

"We are seeing people, particularly 20-something and 30-something folks, who have what looks to be an addictive relationship with computer games … Whether that has been scientifically documented is up in the air," he said, "[but] behaviorally, it sure looks like it … It feels like an addiction to me, from a clinical point of view."

At the same time, Georgi said, because video game addiction is not documented, people who suffer from it have less support than an alcoholic or a drug addict would.

Because of the relative newness of the proposal to classify video game addiction as a medical condition, both the AMA and the Entertainment Software Association declined to comment as of press time.

Addicted …To Love

But for some, kicking the gaming habit goes farther than breaking free of its addictive pull. Mary, for example, said that though she has some regrets about playing the game, she has also benefited from it.

"I met my fiancé on an ogre mound in the Arathi Highlands in Azeroth," she said. "How many people can say that?"'s Dan Childs and Ashley Phillips contributed to this report.

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