Psychologists in Australia are warning that videogame addiction is on the verge of becoming a “national health problem” for the nation’s adults.

As the scourge of videogame addiction spreads, it could become as expensive and destructive as alcohol and nicotine addiction, according to an article in the Herald Sun, yet shockingly, the Australian Medical Association has no policy in place to address the problem. The medical community is being criticized for dragging its feet in researching the burgeoning problem; along with the Australian Medical Association’s disappointing lack of preparedness, the American Medical Association has not yet determined whether or not videogame addiction should be classified as a legitimate mental illness.

“There is no doubt computer and computer games addiction is on the rise for adults,” said psychologist William Campos. “It can be all consuming. I had one patient who was so involved with one game called World of Warcraft and would play it up to eight [or] ten hours a day.”

The report adds that the videogame industry has “unsurprisingly” avoided the topic of game addiction. “Certainly many young people go through periods of intense involvement in computer game play, for example with a new game, but this is not a lasting obsession for the majority,” the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia said in a statement. The Herald Sun said the statement shows the industry is “in denial.”

68 percent of Australians now play videogames and the average age of gamers in the country is 30. Despite the recession that began in 2008, Australians blew $2 billion on videogames, a 47 percent jump over 2007.

Boy, can you imagine how bad things would be if Australia hadn’t spent all that time banning the grown-up games?

via: Joystiq

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