Is videogame addiction a mental disorder like alcoholism? Is it a complex physiological disease? Physicians are divided about it. But the American Medical Association refrained from listing it in the American Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders. The consequences are far-reaching. If videogame obsession is an addiction, it would be covered by insurance, thus meaning millions of dollars in claims and compensation for patients.

Videogame obsession can interfere with day-to-day activities like eating, working, sleeping and interacting with others. Dr Thomas Allen of the Osler Medical Centre in Towson, Maryland said: “The same denial, the same rationalisation, the same inability to give up.” In other words, the videogame or Internet user loses control of the self. Too much time spent in front of the TV or computer screen not only affects academic results but also interaction time with family and peers as well as health. The social handicap is difficult to correct with the passage of time.

Should the medical association categorise disorders based on the profit margin of insurance companies or the interest of patients? But if it were an addiction and mental disease, young people can absolve all responsibilities for their habit and lack of discipline. More and more youngsters are spending time playing video and Internet games. Alcoholism and drugs are substances that enter the body but videogames don’t. It’s an issue that require careful consideration.