There have been recent reports that the American Medical Association (AMA) will have an upcoming vote on the subject of video game addiction and whether or not it should be considered a formal mental disorder. If the vote favors the notion that video game addiction is indeed a mental disorder, the AMA could recommend to the APA (American Psychiatric Association) that the disorder goes into the books. For your information, the APA is the organization that compiles the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders) and is probably the highest authority in deciding what is normal and what is a mental disorder.
"If the science warrants it, this proposed disorder will be considered for inclusion in DSM-V, which is due to be published in 2012. Revising DSM requires a years-long, rigorous process – one that is transparent and open to suggestions from our colleagues in the medical and mental health communities and the public. All changes to DSM will be based on the latest and best science."
The motion probably comes as a result of growing concerns among psychiatrists about the well-being of children who spend immense amounts of time at the screen. They mention such effects as failure to develop friendships, inadequate exercise, falling behind in school, exposure to violence (behavioral risks), and others.
Research on WoW would certainly yield interesting findings, but that’s probably not the only game that they would look at. Nonetheless, WoW has a pretty bad reputation, so it would probably skew the results a bit (or a lot).
If the disorder does find its way into the record books, things are going to be different with labels being thrown around. Although we're not sure what consequences such new social outcasts may face, we're pretty sure the consequences won't be favorable.
The APA includes over 38,000 doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and research of mental illnesses. The APA also recognizes substance use disorders as being mental disorders.