I love this subject..... Having a number of lovely "titles" I myself have been given by "professionals" (such as OCD, ADD/Overactive Mind Syndrone, Manic Depressive/Bipoar/Bipolar 2, personality disorder, social anxiety disorder and probably a host of others I've forgotten) I have also been through the gamut of treatment options.... I gave up on doctors nearly a decade ago having eventually concluded the best way to become well adjusted mentally and emotionally was through cognitive and behavorial changes... On that note, I also tend to believe such "titles" carry a bit too much "weight" in that many diagnosis given are doing nothing more then labeling a personality trait that comes with a pill attached to it (all of which just further throw neuro-balance out of whack in the long run....)... But I'm drifting from the matter at hand....
Just to throw this out there, I wouldn't be too hard on them. The subject can be damned difficult to handle correctly, in particular if they're dealing with partial information and they really do the best they can. As an example, I was diagnosed with ADD in the past (now been revised to aspergers) and was given stimulants to treat it. As a kid it worked brilliantly.
As I got older the help it provided started to slide, though concentration became the least of my problems as anxiety attacks and depression worsened. After a while I read a book called Walking it Off: A Veteran's Chronicle of War and Wilderness
by Doug Peacock and it chilled me to the bone. The sections where he described his PTSD symptoms and, more importantly, his general personality traits and tactical mindset that developed when violence was approaching were like staring into a mirror. I grew up in a very rough town but it had never occurred to me that I had PTSD -- never mind that I had showed some symptoms that in retrospect are very obvious -- because I came from a family where the only people that get PTSD are soldiers and anyone else is a lying pussy so it had never even occurred to me to bring up the nightmares, paranoia, or any other signs up during sessions. Only having a partial diagnosis wasn't their fault.
I immediately brought up those concerns with the psychiatrist that I was dealing with and he concluded that I had PTSD and that keeping me on stimulants to help with ADD symptoms was the exact wrong thing to do because having pre-existing anxiety meant that that would cause concentration problems and that keeping me wired would only make that worse, and make me more paranoid and/or aggressive. He instead put me on a combination anti-anxiety/anti-depression med that has worked wonders for my concentration issues.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that pills are the answer to your problems, they work for some and not for others and I'll freely admit that the depression element of those meds didn't work for me*, but I think your dismissal is too harsh.
*To be fair, the situation I was in was too damn hopeless (objectively) for pills to do much, I think. Currently they take the nastier edge off of my depression symptoms and keep me 'content' until I'm in a good enough position to try to make something of my life again.
I couldn't agree more.... But it extends a bit beyond depression for me.... The length of time I can play, the amount of attention I can lend to a game while playing, as well as assessing my recall of my playtime are all measures for me to check myself cognitively. How I play and how long I play tell me a lot about how I'm doing mentally.... In fact, I'd go so far as to say in some respects gaming has proven MORE efficient in "diagnosing" and treating some of my problems than any other means I've explored......
Case and point....
A doctor says I have ADD..... I think I'm just too hyper-inspired and excitable for my own good sometimes.... The fact I know to be true is that stimulants calm me down and allow me to focus... At the correct "dosage" the stimulants allow me full faculty of my brain and decision making as well (I don't feel scatter-brained or compulsive, I can make decisions based on logic and/or reasonable desire instead my thoughts and motivations bouncing around like a super-ball in my head)....... That correct "dosage" of pharmacutical remedies was not something doctors were able to achieve with me, and those options just created more problems by throwing other things out of whack.... Now, today, things are very simple.... I play whatever game I am currently playing. If I can devote the amount of time and attention to the game that I like (or more accuractely what I decide to be appropriate) I am good..... If I can't devote the amount of time and attention to the game I medicate... You know medication is now for me? Coffee.... I increase coffee consumption until I can comfortably focus and play my game.... I do this routine every morning... have for years... The result? I have not had a problem focusing or working for years and can easily apply myself to my work for however long is required without feeling or acting on an impulsive need to do anything else.
Everything that follows is interesting stuff but I'll be cutting off the quote here because this post is already long and I'm riffing on a general theme of your post at this point.
In my case I have more difficulty focusing on reading or listening to music with no distractions, perhaps unsurprisingly, than games, so I use those as a diagnostic for how well the ADD/anti-anxiety element of treatment is working. I can focus on a game if I'm having problems with that, and it's only severe depression or anger that keeps me from being unable to focus on a game, hence my point about going for help if I get that far. Generally if I'm unable to focus on gaming it means that I'm about to start contemplating the pros and cons of Lookout Mountain
, to be blunt.
In any case, I'm glad to see that gaming and coffee work well as therapy for you. I hope we get some more interesting stories like this in.