I know I have a disease. I just don’t know what it is. Maybe no one knows what it is, but eventually they’ll figure it out and give it an appropriate title. How do I know this? Because I just read that video-game addiction has been added to the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization. So if you experience significant impairment to your work or social life from video addiction, you are now diseased.
This opens up a whole spectrum of questions and suppositions on my part. For starters, is this affliction covered by insurance in general and Medicare in particular? After all, senior citizens who suffer from minor conditions like diabetes or Alzheimer’s, are less likely to be susceptible to the ravages of the internet. It’s only reasonable to assume that the necessary treatment would be “out-of-network”.
And then, what exactly is the treatment? Big Pharma is sure to jump on any new disorder in a pro-active way. Maybe new drugs with names like X-Boxin or Fortuneacillin. Stimulants that make you want to get up and play outside or get a job. What type of therapy would be forthcoming? Will there be family counseling where parents would be encouraged to practice “tough love” and turn off the computer? Or one-on-one sessions where the afflicted is forced into the uncomfortable world of actual conversation.
How about in-patient halfway houses where recovering video addicts can transition back into society by playing checkers or monopoly? Gin rummy or Old Maid? An entire cottage industry of electronic shock gadgets that would zap the unfortunate patient, could be trotted out on end caps at Best Buys or Radio Shack.
I find it disturbing that socially deficient millenials get their own disease and guys like me, who’ve worked hard their whole life, get nothing. It’s not fair, I tell ya’! Everything bothers me. Maybe I can petition the World Health Organization to classify “nudnik” as an official incapacity. I could use a little attention and sympathy too, you know.
We must consider all the poor addicts that have fallen through the cracks. Unheralded sufferers like Robert Palmer who (might as well face it) is addicted to love. There are gazillions of people out there with this malady. People who are obsessed with another person. People who can’t help but think about that other person every minute and revel in the euphoria of being together. So far, the only known cure for this addiction is to move in together for two months.
You think golf’s not an addiction worth its own category? Tell that to the guy who just launched his seven-iron into the lake. A pro bono therapist should at least be positioned at the end of the ninth hole at some of the more elite clubs. Better yet, a licensed psychiatrist driving around the course with vials of Zanax and an extra seven-iron.
I think Mets fans deserve a spot on the mental disease spectrum. Year after year, devoted to an organization that produces nothing but anxiety and disappointment and always expecting things to change. If that’s not the definition of insanity, I don’t know what is. .
Saltwater sports fishermen could surely benefit from some sort of drug other than dramamine. They get up in the middle of the night, travel two hours through choppy waters with nothing but black coffee and Bud-Lite to sustain them. They then jump from spot to spot constantly checking a faulty radar. That’s when the fun begins until you factor in the government’s limit of only two keepers and each one must be the size of a Buick. Eight hours and forty bucks later, they get to scrub down the boat and all the equipment that’s been coated with salt all morning. How is that less deserving of mental counseling than video games?
Running is an addiction. Prehistoric man ran only when on the hunt for some Woolly Mammoth that would provide meat for the winter. Renaissance Man didn’t run at all. Modern man runs for no other reason than to run. Until the last half century or so, only fools found exhaustion, cramping, and dehydration a form of entertainment. I do admire anyone who can complete a marathon but they are nuts. Let’s at least classify them.
We’re all aware of the major addictive diseases: drugs, alcohol, gambling, cheating on your taxes. They get all the ink, recognition, and treatment. But if we’re to identify every minute pattern of persistence as a disease, it waters down the real infirmities. You think people aren’t hooked on Haagen-Dazs or Almond Joys? Mickey D’s or on-line shopping? Square dancing or cats? Netflix or music? We all have our passions and are occasionally maniacal. But does every petite enthusiasm call for an International Classification? I’d like to go into this a bit further but right now I’ve got to go. Shark Tank is on.