Jack Kuo is the current Addictions Psychiatry Fellow at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Department of Psychiatry in Los Angeles, California. He began working in the field of addictions as an outreach counselor for homeless teens and has won numerous awards and scholarships for his work from organizations including the California Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Association of Addictions Psychiatry, the National Institute for Drug Abuse, and the American Psychiatric Association. In 2004 he co-chaired a workshop at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting titled "Online Videogames: Psychopathological or Psychotherapeutic?" that examined the possible risks and potential benefits of online videogames. In 2005 he will be co-chairing a workshop at the APA Annual Meeting evaluating the evidence-based research on the use of videogames and virtual reality to help better diagnose, treat, and understand mental health disorders.
Exploring the Diagnosis and Treatment of Online Gaming
What does "addiction" mean in the context of online gaming? In which ways does online gaming addiction resemble other addictions such as alcoholism or pathological gambling? Are there addictive characteristics unique to online gaming? Case reports suggest that for some people, engagement in online gaming may lead to behaviors consistent with a dependence process: continual increases in the activity, inability to cut down, substitution of the activity for work and social activities, and continued play despite awareness of associated problems. This presentation will engage participants in a discussion of the process of diagnosing and treating online gaming addiction. Participants will interactively learn via evaluation of case examples how to determine whether or not evidence suggestive of an addiction is present and if so, what to consider doing about it. This collaborative exploration will be guided by a group of psychiatrists with expertise in the field of addictions and an interest in both helping those struggling with online gaming addiction as well as the use of videogames to provide innovative, interactive means of educating, diagnosing, and treating patients.