Doctors backed away on Sunday from a controversial proposal to designate video game addiction as a mental disorder akin to alcoholism, saying psychiatrists should study the issue more.
Addiction experts also strongly opposed the idea at a debate at the American Medical Association's annual meeting. They said more study is needed before excessive use of video and online games--a problem that affects about 10 percent of players--could be considered a mental illness.
"There is nothing here to suggest that this is a complex physiological disease state akin to alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders, and it doesn't get to have the word addiction attached to it," said Dr. Stuart Gitlow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
A committee of the influential physicians' group had proposed video game addiction be listed as a mental disorder in the American Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, a guide used by the American Psychiatric Association in diagnosing mental illness.
Such a move would ease the path for insurance coverage of video game addiction.