I Knew It! Playing Video Games is a Mental Illness!

No more Video Games - its bad for your health!Well, almost. The AMA still needs to do more research, but they sound close to making excessive video gaming “a formal psychiatric addiction.” I almost cannot contain the laughter.

But it is not funny. Listen to this poor child:

Jacob Schulist, 14, of Hales Corners, Wis., says he’s certain he was addicted to video games and that the AMA’s vote was misguided.

Until about two months ago, when he discovered a support group called On-Line Gamers Anonymous, Jacob said he played online fantasy video games for 10 hours straight some days.

He said his habit got so severe that he quit spending time with family and friends.

“My grades were horrible, I failed the entire first semester” this past school year because of excessive video-game playing, he said. “It’s like they’re your life.”

Poor guy! If he had only known the dangers of Play Station, perhaps he would be a happy little guy who liked to read instead. Maybe excessive compliance on the part of parents should be included as a psychiatric illness too.

We’re almost there – we have almost made laziness a nationally recognized illness. Ha! I knew I was not responsible for being irresponsible.

What will be even more interesting is if we do with a Play Station what we have to do with a package of cigarettes: Warning Labels. “The Surgeon General states that using this device for more than thirty minutes at a time may be addictive and hazardous to your mental health.” Huh, I’ve been saying that for years. Why didn’t they ask me?

Really, it isn’t funny. Consider this statistic from the AMA:

“The AMA’s report says up to 90 percent of American youngsters play video games and that up to 15 percent of them more than 5 million kids might be addicted.”

With their keen insight and sharp scientific naturalistic methodology, the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health wisely learned:

“dependence-like behaviors are more likely in children who start playing video games at younger ages.”

Listen, you should be very thankful for this landmark research and the slight hesitancy of the AMA to not act too hastily in making video gaming an outright illness just yet. As the chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Chicago’s Rush Medical Center says, “They’re trying very hard not to make a premature diagnosis.” Thank goodness.

But wait. If you are like me in thinking that the AMA has just wasted a lot of time and money to come up with a medical excuse for laziness, consider other work this austere group came up with on the final day of their annual policy meeting:

Voted to have the AMA support government policies requiring fast-food restaurant chains to provide menus detailing nutritional information including calories, fat and sodium content. A key way to fighting the obesity epidemic “is that people know what they’re eating,” Pardon me, I did see Super Size Me. I think I do know what I’m eating. AND, when I’m hankering for a quick burger and fries from Carl’s Jr., I’m probably not going to take the time to check the fat intake levels.

Brilliant.

But wait there is more – consider the depths of research and years of specialized training it took to come up with this:

Recommended more research on a potential link between high fructose corn syrup and obesity. A measure had sought to have the AMA seek government restrictions on the popular sweetener and food labels declaring that excessive consumption of it may lead to obesity.

- Really? If I eat too much sugar, I’m going to get fat? Perish the thought!

Here’s one more for the road. I’m sooo glad they caught this one:

Rejected a move to lobby for limits on the noise levels of in-ear headphones used with iPods and other music-playing devices. A resolution supporting limits said devices with in-ear headphones can generate sound well above 100 decibels more noise than a chain saw makes and levels that have been linked with permanent hearing loss. AMA delegates voted instead to seek more research on the issue.

I noticed that something was starting to happen with my hearing. I have to turn The Albert Mohler Radio Podcast up so loud in my iPod while working out at the gym (in order to drown out the 80′s disco music), that I was wondering if it was having any adverse affects on my mental health. However, the jury is still out on this one. It still needs more research.

Thank you AMA for this kind of research.

If this is the type of stuff the pre-video game, fast-food inventing, almost-but-not-quite obese, pre-iPod generation has come up with, what illness will their children diagnose when they grow up to serve society through the AMA? I bet they say excessive blogging is a mental illness too.

I need a burger and a High fructose Coca-cola.

Too much video gaming not addiction, yet – Yahoo! News

Author: Bret Capranica

I am married to Kelly (thecapranicavilla.wordpress.com) and Pastor-Teacher of Summit Woods Baptist Church, Lee's Summmit, MO (summitwoodschurch.org)

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  • walter

    Bret,

    Do you really want us commenting on your mental health? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Pass the fructose.

  • http://www.fbcsanjacinto.com Bret Capranica

    Yes, isn’t that why we created blogs?

  • Terry Bench

    By the way Sam is still waiting for you guys to get together to play the computer game that you promised over a year ago!

  • Bird

    I believe that the kids parents should have taken the system away from him. Even though it might(they havent decided yet) be true, you can always take the system away.

  • anthony

    you guys are idiots video games are a hobby and some people let them selfs get to addicted because there trying to escape real life its only out of contral when you let it be as for the parents they should of noticed some thing was up and done some thing to help!

  • http://www.fbcsanjacinto.com Bret Capranica

    Thanks for the comments Anthony. Are you a video game aficionado? Based upon your use of syntax and grammar, I would guess the answer is “yes.”

  • Ryan

    I know so many people who play Basketball every day.
    Does that mean they are addicted to Basketball?
    I have also been hearing high school shootings linked to Video Game Addiction, but wouldn’t you think those kids had serious Mental Issues already?

  • http://www.fbcsanjacinto.com Bret Capranica

    Ryan, yes, basketball, in my estimation can be a terrible addiction, and if we push them, maybe the AMA will make it a mental illness (I suspect it really is one). It’s not one I struggle with, but one that no doubt destroys the lives of many, many unsuspecting young people [tongue-in-cheek].

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Ryan

    I just don’t see how they can link the Virginia and Columbine shootings to Video Games.
    Maybe I am to young, or since I play video games I am taking my own side, but it sounds so ridiculous to me.
    I had to type really fast cause I am in school, so sorry if this doesnt sound good, or sounds stupid.

  • http://www.fbcsanjacinto.com Bret Capranica

    Ryan – you are not playing video games in school while you should be learning how to read and write are you? JK.

    The AMA’s trying to make video game addiction a mental illness is ridiculous to me also. However, spending hour upon hour staring at a video game while ignoring relationships and, well, life, is a matter parents do need to address – unless they are the ones playing the games with their kids.

    Thanks again for commenting.

    BTW – what gadget are you using to surf the web while at school?

  • Ryan

    Type your comment here.

  • Ryan

    Whoops sorry about that. I am using the school computers.
    I am doing my senior project on Video Game Addiction, so I came accross this while looking for pictures.
    I understand, people do need to get out and do things, but there parents need to step up like parents and take their game away.
    Or I know some people who are in there 30′s who play alot and if thats what they want to do with their life, then I say let them.

    I won’t be able to post again until tomorrow, so sorry for no more responses today.

  • http://www.fbcsanjacinto.com Bret Capranica

    So, Ryan, I would be interested in what you think. Do you think video gaming is or can be a valid addiction? Or do you think it is merely an issue of parental and self-control?

  • Ryan

    In my mind it can be both situations.

    A little kid isn’t going to be able to limit him or herself. So that’s when a parent needs to step forward and limit the gameplay or just take the game away all together.

    I don’t think it is a valid addiction, because video games are a hobby. Such as basketball, hockey, baseball, cooking, etc…
    Do you see what I mean?

  • http://www.fbcsanjacinto.com Bret Capranica

    Ryan, I’m with you. I think we are too quick in our society to lessen personal responsibility for our actions by making our irresponsibilities a mental illness. Hopefully you see, in the post, my satirical play with the AMA and their penchant for attempting to wipe out individual culpability by making irresponsibility a sickness. See what I mean?

  • Ryan

    Yes, I agree with you as well.
    For some reason I thought you were saying Video Games were an addiction.
    I think I don’t read too well at 7 in the morning.

  • Snake

    I agree with Ryan. Video games are only a hobby, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes when people say…play games, I belive the saying goes ‘Time flies by’. Its not so much of an illness than it is a, as other people say, waste of time. Now I understand what Anthony was saying but…I’m pretty upset that we gamers have someone like that representing us…its…well its sad (no offense). As much as people think games are a mental illness, its not. Its like smoking, its a “bad” habit, but i guess i can’t compare smoking to playing games but you get the point. Its hard to put down a controller as much as it is to throw away a cigarette until someone in the family does something about it. Thats my opinion thats it.

  • http://thecapranica.com Bret Capranica

    Snake,with a name like that you must be a gamer. So you no doubt agree with me that the problem with video games is a personal responsibility issue and not a mental illness.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.