#1

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 NEXT
 

This is the main reason I keep coming back to the Escapist, articles like this.

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

Mezzo.:

9NineBreaker9:

Heavy Weapons Guy:

Ralvuimego:

RetroVortex:
-Le Snip-

Hang on...

image

Yep. I do see the resemblance.

I do look forward to seeing more of these articles though.

DOCTOR!! <3

I think your first post contains an amount of win that cannot be described. :D

Anyhow: an interesting read. It's refreshing to see that not every psychologist views video games as the spawn of all evil that often seems to be a general consensus... hell, I wish you were my psychologist! xD

... also, in attempting to write out some sort of heartfelt note or explanation as to why I'm a gamer, "videogames" could be replaced with "crack" and nothing would have been changed whatsoever. That's slightly alarming.

THE OFFICIAL MEDIC IS HERE!!! [bows down and offers money]

Okay, I just cannot fathom how EPIC that is!!! The similarity cannot be a coincidence! People, we now have our very own Medic in the squad! YOU ARE A GREAT DOCTOR!!!

I never thought I needed a shrink...until now. I mean, video game addiction was always a controversial subject, some said that video games are like cocaine or heroin, others said video game addiction does not exist. I can witness to the fact, that video games could be addictive, as any other pleasurable substance or activity. I was once addicted to a MMOG called RF-Online some years ago, and to my horror, when I looked back afterwards, I did show symptoms of addiction, like making excuses to play, neglecting responsibilities, the all too common "just one more level" syndrome, getting agitated, restless or even agressive when I couldn't play, etc. I feel quite embarrassed about that in retrospect, but when I was under the spell of the game, everything seemed normal to me, and I was honestly surprised when people tried to talk me out of playing it six hours a day...anyway...

Welcome to the Escapist, Doc. I'm looking forward to reading your articles! :)

veloper:

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

You know what, I'm going to have to agree with the qualified doctor as to the meaning of the word addiction. Chances are, he knows what he's talking about.

Consider maybe, that you have been using it incorrectly all this time and need to learn its true meaning.

Cartographer:

veloper:

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

You know what, I'm going to have to agree with the qualified doctor as to the meaning of the word addiction. Chances are, he knows what he's talking about.

Consider maybe, that you have been using it incorrectly all this time and need to learn its true meaning.

You would, but some people can actually think for themselves.
Whenever common sense trumps book knowledge, always go with the common sense.

There's a common reason why parents let their kids play videogames but not snort coke.

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

You know what, I'm going to have to agree with the qualified doctor as to the meaning of the word addiction. Chances are, he knows what he's talking about.

Consider maybe, that you have been using it incorrectly all this time and need to learn its true meaning.

You would, but some people can actually think for themselves.
Whenever common sense trumps book knowledge, always go with the common sense.

There's a common reason why parents let their kids play videogames but not snort coke.

What has that got to do with the meaning of the word "addiction"?

Seriously, sort out your own point before attacking others.

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

You know what, I'm going to have to agree with the qualified doctor as to the meaning of the word addiction. Chances are, he knows what he's talking about.

Consider maybe, that you have been using it incorrectly all this time and need to learn its true meaning.

You would, but some people can actually think for themselves.
Whenever common sense trumps book knowledge, always go with the common sense.

There's a common reason why parents let their kids play videogames but not snort coke.

What has that got to do with the meaning of the word "addiction"?

Seriously, sort out your own point before attacking others.

2 and 2 should've been easy enough to follow but I'll explain it in really easy words:

Consider the following two sentences:

1 cocaine is addictive, and
2 videogames are addictive.

If both are true, then the word "addictive" has no meaning. Meaningless definitions are wrong by default.

Regular coke users cannot stop if they want to. Regular gamers can; hell almost every kid plays games nowadays and almost everyone will grow bored after playing the same game too much.

There is just no fucking comparison to coke, heroin or even alcohol.

Wonderful article, thank you very much.
This article gave me lots of stuff to think about.

veloper:

2 and 2 should've been easy enough to follow but I'll explain it in really easy words:

Consider the following two sentences:

1 cocaine is addictive, and
2 videogames are addictive.

If both are true, then the word "addictive" has no meaning. Meaningless definitions are wrong by default.

Regular coke users cannot stop if they want to. Regular gamers can; hell almost every kid plays games nowadays and almost everyone will grow bored after playing the same game too much.

There is just no fucking comparison to coke, heroin or even alcohol.

That depends on what you consider regular use, coke can be addictive, so can video games. I drink alcohol regularly, and can stop anytime, by your definition alcohol is no longer addictive.

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

You know what, I'm going to have to agree with the qualified doctor as to the meaning of the word addiction. Chances are, he knows what he's talking about.

Consider maybe, that you have been using it incorrectly all this time and need to learn its true meaning.

You would, but some people can actually think for themselves.
Whenever common sense trumps book knowledge, always go with the common sense.

There's a common reason why parents let their kids play videogames but not snort coke.

What has that got to do with the meaning of the word "addiction"?

Seriously, sort out your own point before attacking others.

2 and 2 should've been easy enough to follow but I'll explain it in really easy words:

Consider the following two sentences:

1 cocaine is addictive, and
2 videogames are addictive.

If both are true, then the word "addictive" has no meaning. Meaningless definitions are wrong by default.

Regular coke users cannot stop if they want to. Regular gamers can; hell almost every kid plays games nowadays and almost everyone will grow bored after playing the same game too much.

There is just no fucking comparison to coke, heroin or even alcohol.

Your point (and I use the term loosely) seems to ignore psychologically addictive activities; gambling being the prime example. It is universally recognised throughout the medical profession that gambling addiction exists, yet gambling, unlike coke, has no addictive chemicals, ingredients etc. despite this, there are a great many people addicted to it.

Fundamentally, you appear to be operating from a flawed position. Addiction refers to the state of being unable to cease a habit or practice, be it due to some chemical dependency OR due to a psychological one. Gaming, like gambling, falls into the latter category. Cocaine falls into the former.

(Nice language in your post BTW, great way of reinforcing my opinion of you)

DayDark:

veloper:

2 and 2 should've been easy enough to follow but I'll explain it in really easy words:

Consider the following two sentences:

1 cocaine is addictive, and
2 videogames are addictive.

If both are true, then the word "addictive" has no meaning. Meaningless definitions are wrong by default.

Regular coke users cannot stop if they want to. Regular gamers can; hell almost every kid plays games nowadays and almost everyone will grow bored after playing the same game too much.

There is just no fucking comparison to coke, heroin or even alcohol.

That depends on what you consider regular use, coke can be addictive, so can video games. I drink alcohol regularly, and can stop anytime, by your definition alcohol is no longer addictive.

Coke IS addictive. Alcohol not so much. Games, out of the question.

Alcohol is questionable, since almost everyone drinks it, while only a few become alcoholics, but alcoholics do depend on the substance, unlike gamers.

The obsessed gamer gets his sensations from doing something he enjoys doing. It is bio chemistry within the brain itself, which always occurs for every sensation we're capable of feeling.
Every activity people do and enjoy causes chemicals to be released by the brain that make us feel good and I'm NOT suggesting to apply the label addictive to everything from sports to chess to everything.

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

You know what, I'm going to have to agree with the qualified doctor as to the meaning of the word addiction. Chances are, he knows what he's talking about.

Consider maybe, that you have been using it incorrectly all this time and need to learn its true meaning.

You would, but some people can actually think for themselves.
Whenever common sense trumps book knowledge, always go with the common sense.

There's a common reason why parents let their kids play videogames but not snort coke.

What has that got to do with the meaning of the word "addiction"?

Seriously, sort out your own point before attacking others.

2 and 2 should've been easy enough to follow but I'll explain it in really easy words:

Consider the following two sentences:

1 cocaine is addictive, and
2 videogames are addictive.

If both are true, then the word "addictive" has no meaning. Meaningless definitions are wrong by default.

Regular coke users cannot stop if they want to. Regular gamers can; hell almost every kid plays games nowadays and almost everyone will grow bored after playing the same game too much.

There is just no fucking comparison to coke, heroin or even alcohol.

Your point (and I use the term loosely) seems to ignore psychologically addictive activities; gambling being the prime example. It is universally recognised throughout the medical profession that gambling addiction exists, yet gambling, unlike coke, has no addictive chemicals, ingredients etc. despite this, there are a great many people addicted to it.

Fundamentally, you appear to be operating from a flawed position. Addiction refers to the state of being unable to cease a habit or practice, be it due to some chemical dependency OR due to a psychological one. Gaming, like gambling, falls into the latter category. Cocaine falls into the former.

(Nice language in your post BTW, great way of reinforcing my opinion of you)

Gambling is an obsession, not an addiction. Nor do I consider workaholics, addicted. It's a misnomer.
Some people will get obsessed with anything. Most people won't.

It's hard to stop with cocaine. Gaming, gambling isn't anywhere near as bad.

By linking gaming to addiction you're underestimating the danger of real drugs.

So, Dr.Mark

Why is there always /one/ person that takes a game to seriously and flips out "because" of it?

IMHO, the most important part of this article was where Dr Mark spoke explicitly about how additiction is typified by the maintenance of a healthy and controlled relationship with whatever substance is involved.

That is why I play games with a timer/alarm clock. Otherwise it is so easy to just disappear.

My question is if you turn to games instead of the real world and ur happy than wats wrong wit that?

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

You know what, I'm going to have to agree with the qualified doctor as to the meaning of the word addiction. Chances are, he knows what he's talking about.

Consider maybe, that you have been using it incorrectly all this time and need to learn its true meaning.

You would, but some people can actually think for themselves.
Whenever common sense trumps book knowledge, always go with the common sense.

There's a common reason why parents let their kids play videogames but not snort coke.

What has that got to do with the meaning of the word "addiction"?

Seriously, sort out your own point before attacking others.

2 and 2 should've been easy enough to follow but I'll explain it in really easy words:

Consider the following two sentences:

1 cocaine is addictive, and
2 videogames are addictive.

If both are true, then the word "addictive" has no meaning. Meaningless definitions are wrong by default.

Regular coke users cannot stop if they want to. Regular gamers can; hell almost every kid plays games nowadays and almost everyone will grow bored after playing the same game too much.

There is just no fucking comparison to coke, heroin or even alcohol.

Your point (and I use the term loosely) seems to ignore psychologically addictive activities; gambling being the prime example. It is universally recognised throughout the medical profession that gambling addiction exists, yet gambling, unlike coke, has no addictive chemicals, ingredients etc. despite this, there are a great many people addicted to it.

Fundamentally, you appear to be operating from a flawed position. Addiction refers to the state of being unable to cease a habit or practice, be it due to some chemical dependency OR due to a psychological one. Gaming, like gambling, falls into the latter category. Cocaine falls into the former.

(Nice language in your post BTW, great way of reinforcing my opinion of you)

Gambling is an obsession, not an addiction. Nor do I consider workaholics, addicted. It's a misnomer.
Some people will get obsessed with anything. Most people won't.

It's hard to stop with cocaine. Gaming, gambling isn't anywhere near as bad.

By linking gaming to addiction you're underestimating the danger of real drugs.

Except, and this is the point you seem to fail at grasping, your opinion on the matter of what constitutes an addiction is completely irrelevant. It is a well defined medical term that does incorporate psychological compulsions.
The core of your argument appears to be you taking issue with the accepted definition of a word, I'm sorry but that's just puerile. Addiction incorporates psychological compulsions whether you agree with it or not.
Furthermore, your attempt to qualify gambling as an obsession rather than an addiction is not supported by medical science. By all means, point to a peer reviewed article in a medical journal (or equivalent) that proves you right, I'll gladly read it. Otherwise, the Doctor gets to be believed when it comes to medicine.

evaluate Yahtzee Croshaw's mental state

First of all, great article! I look forward to reading more from Dr. Mark, and I am impressed by his ability to stay neutral and not pander to his audience like so many experts brought into the media.

Some of these comments, though...sheesh. I don't understand why people try to argue with current, clinical, evidence-based research by using anecdotes and personal "definitions." I just finished my psych rotation in my BSN program, and the professor made it very clear that drug addiction, gambling addiction, exercise addiction, internet addiction, etc. are the SAME THING from a neurological standpoint.

I'd love to see what the results of studying The Sims would be from this man. It's rare to see a clear-headed individual take a sharp look at the positives and negatives of gaming, and he makes decent points. Like he said though, gaming is a pleasurable activity... I think we all can agree on that. Anything that is pleasurable can become an addiction; sucking one's thumb as a nervous habit outside of childhood, for instance. Therefore, enjoying video games CAN be an addiction. The only thing that matters is that we maintain the ability to keep it as passive entertainment.

The negative press surrounding video games understands it as "everyone who plays video games will get addicted" when it should really be, "some people who play video games with the particular mental chemistry that predisposes them towards getting hooked on addictive activities can get addicted".

I for one know that I am genetically predisposed towards becoming addicted which is why I've stayed away from drugs, alchohol, smoking etc. because I realize that those activities can become life-interrupting for me very easily. I've been closely monitoring my internet and gaming time to make sure I don't neglect important real-life activities (mind you, right now my internet use is doing so). I know I'm not the only one. In the end, it's my responsibility, not the game's.

The_root_of_all_evil:
*insightful post snip*

In terms of getting "stashes" to hold off (or give into) cravings when the main source has been cut off... I know a lot of younger gamers who get really into their games to the point of ignoring their families and friends, and they will use hand-held games when they can't use the computer or the TV for games. They'll stash their easily hidden hand-held systems in case they're removed from their main source through grounding or visiting places without easily accessible stimuli. Does that count for what you're talking about?

Couldn't you say in terms of gaining support from people online that some people (such as myself) can't always get in our real-life relationships, that someone can become addicted (that scary and telling word) from just that, let alone the constant drive to become better and stronger? I know that working out at the gym to excess for this reason can become addictive to some, and gaming doesn't have the physical duress to hold you back since the only workout is to muscles from anger or stress at the in-game actions.

PrototypeC:

In terms of getting "stashes" to hold off (or give into) cravings when the main source has been cut off... I know a lot of younger gamers who get really into their games to the point of ignoring their families and friends, and they will use hand-held games when they can't use the computer or the TV for games. They'll stash their easily hidden hand-held systems in case they're removed from their main source through grounding or visiting places without easily accessible stimuli. Does that count for what you're talking about?

Well, this is what makes it an interesting case. The alcoholic/dope-fiend etc. will have a preferred medium, so as a "gamer", there should be a preferred medium and a fall-back medium. But if you look at a "WoW addict" - not even a different server will do. Give a "WoW addict" the ability to go on Everquest and there's no addiction there, so it can't be a gaming addiction, rather an addiction to a very specific form of behaviour - which is usually classed as OCD.

Couldn't you say in terms of gaining support from people online that some people (such as myself) can't always get in our real-life relationships, that someone can become addicted (that scary and telling word) from just that, let alone the constant drive to become better and stronger?

But that's the case I deal with later. There's a wide number of people whose entire life revolves around their work - as the stresses of their work imbue a certain mindset. You watch any retailer (or parent) around Xmas, and they devolve into that behaviour. They can only gain "sustenance" by going through those specific "addictions". Look at Valentine's Day. There's a whole industry built around the "addiction" to "being in love", including overdosing, cold turkey, secret stashes and OCD.

What I'm saying is that "gaming addiction" is actually a recognised form of normality to most gamers, and OCD focussing on gaming to those that need help. Treating it as an addiction (weening) will actually treat a symptom rather than a cause, and that's when it can re-focus on something a lot more deadly.

I spend probably 40 hours in front of the monitor a week, (my Steam score can vouch for that) but I still manage to hold down a job, be a reasonably pleasant person, not blow all my money and have entire weeks away from it. This is "unnatural" compared to the guys who, at the moment, are imbibing huge quantities of alcohol, painting their faces, going round in primary coloured costumes and obsessing about some trophy.

Your call who's the crazier.

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

You know what, I'm going to have to agree with the qualified doctor as to the meaning of the word addiction. Chances are, he knows what he's talking about.

Consider maybe, that you have been using it incorrectly all this time and need to learn its true meaning.

You would, but some people can actually think for themselves.
Whenever common sense trumps book knowledge, always go with the common sense.

There's a common reason why parents let their kids play videogames but not snort coke.

What has that got to do with the meaning of the word "addiction"?

Seriously, sort out your own point before attacking others.

2 and 2 should've been easy enough to follow but I'll explain it in really easy words:

Consider the following two sentences:

1 cocaine is addictive, and
2 videogames are addictive.

If both are true, then the word "addictive" has no meaning. Meaningless definitions are wrong by default.

Regular coke users cannot stop if they want to. Regular gamers can; hell almost every kid plays games nowadays and almost everyone will grow bored after playing the same game too much.

There is just no fucking comparison to coke, heroin or even alcohol.

Your point (and I use the term loosely) seems to ignore psychologically addictive activities; gambling being the prime example. It is universally recognised throughout the medical profession that gambling addiction exists, yet gambling, unlike coke, has no addictive chemicals, ingredients etc. despite this, there are a great many people addicted to it.

Fundamentally, you appear to be operating from a flawed position. Addiction refers to the state of being unable to cease a habit or practice, be it due to some chemical dependency OR due to a psychological one. Gaming, like gambling, falls into the latter category. Cocaine falls into the former.

(Nice language in your post BTW, great way of reinforcing my opinion of you)

Gambling is an obsession, not an addiction. Nor do I consider workaholics, addicted. It's a misnomer.
Some people will get obsessed with anything. Most people won't.

It's hard to stop with cocaine. Gaming, gambling isn't anywhere near as bad.

By linking gaming to addiction you're underestimating the danger of real drugs.

Except, and this is the point you seem to fail at grasping, your opinion on the matter of what constitutes an addiction is completely irrelevant. It is a well defined medical term that does incorporate psychological compulsions.
The core of your argument appears to be you taking issue with the accepted definition of a word, I'm sorry but that's just puerile. Addiction incorporates psychological compulsions whether you agree with it or not.
Furthermore, your attempt to qualify gambling as an obsession rather than an addiction is not supported by medical science. By all means, point to a peer reviewed article in a medical journal (or equivalent) that proves you right, I'll gladly read it. Otherwise, the Doctor gets to be believed when it comes to medicine.

Don't you even use google or check anything before you start posting stuff as facts you know little about?

Problem gambling is NOT considered an addiction in the profession. It is what psychiatrists call an impulse control disorder.

It's only been a recent trend to wrongly label everything as an addiction to make problems sound more grave and severe. The original definition of addiction is substance dependency only.

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Cartographer:

veloper:

Aurgelmir:
"I stopped playing WoW, not because I was addicted and needed an intervention, but because I became bored with the game. Do heroine addicts get bored of shooting up? Do crackheads get bored of smoking crack? No."

This is probably one of my favorite arguments for why gaming is not an addiction, for the most part that is.

I would rather use the word "Obsession" on psychological addictions, since that is more or less what it is.

Although as I am writing this a friend of mine pointed out that you get some kind of kick out of leveling or gaining new gear, so it might be that there is a sense of addiction going on.

I don't know what to think, but I personally feel "addiction" is a too strong word, when it is tossed as a lable on anyone that plays MMOs, regardless of their mental state.

Totally this.

Obsession is the correct word and meaning.

"Addiction" is only for REAL dependencies like coke and heroin.

For every hobby, pasttime, detail and job there are some people who will get obsessed with it. This isn't anywhere near as problematic is heroin addiction.

You know what, I'm going to have to agree with the qualified doctor as to the meaning of the word addiction. Chances are, he knows what he's talking about.

Consider maybe, that you have been using it incorrectly all this time and need to learn its true meaning.

You would, but some people can actually think for themselves.
Whenever common sense trumps book knowledge, always go with the common sense.

There's a common reason why parents let their kids play videogames but not snort coke.

What has that got to do with the meaning of the word "addiction"?

Seriously, sort out your own point before attacking others.

2 and 2 should've been easy enough to follow but I'll explain it in really easy words:

Consider the following two sentences:

1 cocaine is addictive, and
2 videogames are addictive.

If both are true, then the word "addictive" has no meaning. Meaningless definitions are wrong by default.

Regular coke users cannot stop if they want to. Regular gamers can; hell almost every kid plays games nowadays and almost everyone will grow bored after playing the same game too much.

There is just no fucking comparison to coke, heroin or even alcohol.

Your point (and I use the term loosely) seems to ignore psychologically addictive activities; gambling being the prime example. It is universally recognised throughout the medical profession that gambling addiction exists, yet gambling, unlike coke, has no addictive chemicals, ingredients etc. despite this, there are a great many people addicted to it.

Fundamentally, you appear to be operating from a flawed position. Addiction refers to the state of being unable to cease a habit or practice, be it due to some chemical dependency OR due to a psychological one. Gaming, like gambling, falls into the latter category. Cocaine falls into the former.

(Nice language in your post BTW, great way of reinforcing my opinion of you)

Gambling is an obsession, not an addiction. Nor do I consider workaholics, addicted. It's a misnomer.
Some people will get obsessed with anything. Most people won't.

It's hard to stop with cocaine. Gaming, gambling isn't anywhere near as bad.

By linking gaming to addiction you're underestimating the danger of real drugs.

Except, and this is the point you seem to fail at grasping, your opinion on the matter of what constitutes an addiction is completely irrelevant. It is a well defined medical term that does incorporate psychological compulsions.
The core of your argument appears to be you taking issue with the accepted definition of a word, I'm sorry but that's just puerile. Addiction incorporates psychological compulsions whether you agree with it or not.
Furthermore, your attempt to qualify gambling as an obsession rather than an addiction is not supported by medical science. By all means, point to a peer reviewed article in a medical journal (or equivalent) that proves you right, I'll gladly read it. Otherwise, the Doctor gets to be believed when it comes to medicine.

Don't you even use google or check anything before you start posting stuff as facts you know little about?

Problem gambling is NOT considered an addiction in the profession. It is what psychiatrists call an impulse control disorder.

It's only been a recent trend to wrongly label everything as an addiction to make problems sound more grave and severe. The original definition of addiction is substance dependency only.

What exactly is your background with regard to psychiatrics and mental health? I just graduated from a four-year nursing program and will be attending medical school shortly, so my information should be relatively current in an ever-evolving field.

Gambling addiction, sex addiction, and internet addiction will all be included in the as-yet-unpublished DSM-V (the latter two in the appendix, I believe), which will be released sometime within the next three years. The DSM-V will replace the current DSM-IV criteria that you seem to be referring to, so I can understand your confusion to a degree. I'd just like to add that these newly-recognized addictions are not a "trend," and they are not going away any time soon. They come from evidence-based research into the brain that indicates addictive behaviors alter brain chemistry in the same way that addictive substances do.

I appreciate all these thoughtful comments. It makes sense that there would be controversy and dissent about whether video gaming should be thought of as an addiction in some cases. There are of course even professionals who disagree about this.

There is likely a continuum ranging from more or less healthy use, which I think of as use that doesn't profoundly disrupt functioning outside of play or is well-integrated into the person's real life, to more compulsive, driven activity, which intrudes on real life in significant ways but isn't seriously destructive (I'd put my own WoW habit in this category--it was terribly compulsive and I spent way too much time doing it--it affected my sleep and energy level and was always on my mind, but it didn't cause me to lose my job or family), to what we might call addiction.

For me, this latter stage is characterized by an extreme loss of perspective. The person feels best when playing(the rest of life seems pale and dull), consistently loses track of time, repeatedly fails to meet basic life obligations resulting in major consequences--which can include loss of job, failing out of school, break ups of significant relationships (including divorce and loss of contact with parents or children), major financial troubles, serious health consequences (like gaining a great deal of weight, getting terribly out of shape, repetitive stress injuries, sleep disorder), and engages in a web of deceptions to sustain intensive use. The most important of these deceptions is denying to oneself the true consequences of the activity. They tell themselves their play isn't wreaking havoc on their lives, and when you point out the many ways this is happening, they simply ignore, deny, or explain it away. Some can tell you they know it isn't good for them and they ought to cut back, while simultaneously continuing and even intensifying play. When I talk to them I often have the experience that the person really in charge isn't in the room. They can tell me anything I want to hear, but some other part of them is unconsciously making decisions and guiding their actions.

If you look at this list of symptoms (and its hardly exhaustive--I'm reeling this off on a Saturday morning before I've even had my coffee!), its hard not to see parallels with the behavior of other addicts, and the idea that addictive video game play may be stimulating similar brain pathways, as research has shown with other addictive behaviors like gambling, makes a lot of sense.

I started writing about and thinking about video games not to simply point out that they can be addictive. I'm fascinated with the diversity and intensity and meaningfulness of these experiences in the lives of many players. I think they can serve complex and important psychological functions which may be critical and even adaptive for some of us. Whether they are healthy, compulsive, or addictive, I think we can agree that many of these games are "psycho-active," which is to say they have a real impact on how we think and feel and can affect some of us at a very deep psychological level at least some of the time.

I hope future columns can address some of these experiences, and I welcome any and all of your comments and questions at askdrmark@escapistmag.com.

9NineBreaker9:

... also, in attempting to write out some sort of heartfelt note or explanation as to why I'm a gamer, "videogames" could be replaced with "crack" and nothing would have been changed whatsoever. That's slightly alarming.

True, but I think you could replace video-games with almost anything at all. You can replace it with reading books or eating food. You could even replace it with taking daily walks through the park.

dogstile:
So, Dr.Mark

Why is there always /one/ person that takes a game to seriously and flips out "because" of it?

dog--I wish it was only one person! It may be one person you know, but nationally, and internationally there are legions of people that flip out over each of the games. Its what makes the industry so vital and exciting and also what creates the risk of problems

Personally, I see gaming much like any other generational medium of choice. It can be addictive certainly, but then so could cigarettes back in their golden age, however unlike cigarettes, there doesn't seem to be, Per Se a direct downside (like say lung cancer). The only real measure of addiction or not, would be the distress caused primarily to the person playing, NOT those around them.

This may not make sense initially to most people, allow me to endeavor to create a viable explanation on and of my point of view. This distress or, issue if you prefer that term, within my context, is a long term matter, as opposed to short term, for example.

Let's say you are a young teenage guy living with your parents, the issue of playing so much your parents make a fuss, and say cut off internet and computer access, and tell you your addicted and decide to get you "help". Doesn't actually mean anything worth paying attention to, No offense, but on average parents are just as likely to get it wrong as they are right.

However if you are lets say playing your game of choice to a such that you loose touch with those people, places, and things that you find valuable, or that in interferes with something you care about, or that you can't stop, or say play and do things like forget to eat on a daily basis.

That is an implication of addiction, personal opinions are not.

The reasoning behind this to put it simply is based on the definition of addiction, which is I believe : the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

IN other words, does it hurt you, inconveniencing those around you is a pain in the ass for them, and if they are supplying your means of filling your desires, then it's totally their right to take it away, but that doesn't mean there's any validity to their claims.

It's all a matter of how it affects you, how does it impede you personally, if at all.

I think that should be sufficent for my explation... :P

For the record, while not addicted to video games, I am absolutely addicted to internet access.

:P

Alar:
Good to see someone come out and finally make the distinction about addiction being anything that can be pleasurable. To this end, I would assume even something as seemingly healthy as working out can be addictive, as it gives your body a naturally pleasing reaction (releasing endorphins into the brain, etc.).

I'm not entirely sure if I could classify myself as "addicted" to a single game. Am I addicted to the Internet and video games as a whole? Maybe, but it would take time for me to quantify those experiences and explain them logically.

Thanks for the article.

I found it more intriguing that he's one of the few people that defined Addiction properly.

I was disheartened after getting into Psychology to see how many people had made up their own definitions and were wielding them like law, some of which were people who should be smart enough not to be doing such.

That hallmark of it negatively impacting ones life is crucial, because if it isn't hurting you, it isn't an addiction. If that wasn't considered important than nearly all of our recreational activities would be addictions which would be just silly (and make the term pretty much useless).

There is barely anything different cognitively between an addict of meth and an addict of porn or video games. We just see that physical intake of a drug as what makes it suddenly a "real addiction".

As if the brain can only get addicted to things that travel at slower than light speed.

Daden:
Gambling addiction, sex addiction, and internet addiction will all be included in the as-yet-unpublished DSM-V (the latter two in the appendix, I believe), which will be released sometime within the next three years. The DSM-V will replace the current DSM-IV criteria that you seem to be referring to, so I can understand your confusion to a degree. I'd just like to add that these newly-recognized addictions are not a "trend," and they are not going away any time soon. They come from evidence-based research into the brain that indicates addictive behaviors alter brain chemistry in the same way that addictive substances do.

Did you find yourself turning into a hypochondriac as you read the DSM? The further I dived into the book the more I began to respect psychologists who can properly diagnose people. Because every third page I was thinking "I've got that!" :P.

One of the few books from college that I still have on my shelf.

Lots of insightful comments on here.

I'm convinced that I suffer from OCD, as there are some habits I seem incapable of breaking (unless I REALLY think hard on it), like staying at work too late...or even compulsively reading comment threads and checking gaming websites more than regularly, when I could, oh, I dunno, actually be playing games!

I'm going to have to agree with "veloper": substance abuse and psychological addiction are in completely different ballparks. I know at least one person to commit suicide due to a relapse in drug abuse, but I've never known anything like that happening with a so-called videogame addiction...I'm sure it HAS happened, I just haven't seen it. This is coming from a guy who knew several people that played WOW regularly and stopped caring about their studies - I did something similar with emulated games.

However! There is a fine line between a correlation and a direct connection; does someone dropping out of school after playing WOW excessively mean that WOW is addictive? Or does it point to something else, some other possibly related problem?

I'll leave that up in the air. I just know that, like I said, substance abuse and psychological addiction are NOT the same thing! Even if new research comes out with lots of supporting evidence to the contrary, I will never buy it.

Daden:

What exactly is your background with regard to psychiatrics and mental health? I just graduated from a four-year nursing program and will be attending medical school shortly, so my information should be relatively current in an ever-evolving field.

Gambling addiction, sex addiction, and internet addiction will all be included in the as-yet-unpublished DSM-V (the latter two in the appendix, I believe), which will be released sometime within the next three years. The DSM-V will replace the current DSM-IV criteria that you seem to be referring to, so I can understand your confusion to a degree. I'd just like to add that these newly-recognized addictions are not a "trend," and they are not going away any time soon. They come from evidence-based research into the brain that indicates addictive behaviors alter brain chemistry in the same way that addictive substances do.

Nah, I'm just an anonymous guy with a handle, just like everybody else on an online forum. I don't put much stock in claims of expertise by other members either, not just because it's unverifiable, but mostly because the only thing that matters is the arguments themselves.

Normally I wouldn't get involved in this, but gaming addiction is part of the rhetoric of the anti-gaming lobby in the media and I hate to see it when the gaming community gives ground.

The problem isn't so much lumping other disorders in with addictions or substance dependence within psychiatry, rather it's the media who will go gaming=crack, it's now(2013) official, on us.

The lobby cannot do anything with an "impulse control disorder" or other jargon, but a broader definition of addiction is just perfect ammo. That's the power of words, when people hear "addict" they associate the word with a heroin or crack junkie.

Maybe if I get into an argument about it again in the future, I'll counter with shopping addiction, sport addiction or similar weak shit, to render the definition so broad it becomes as harmless as it will become meaningless.

Just want to drop one point.

If you become bored with the game, There is always another game. So you'll start playing that till you get bored and go on with the next game. Sounds like a vicious circle to me anyways.

And thanks for a good article doc. Loved your first one too.

I highly recommend seeing Second Skin before or after reading this article. It has no ulterior motives, it just shows the effect of WoW on normal people, who happen to play it. There's the story of this one guy in there that is VERY relevant to the first letter.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I'm still not sure about the use of the word addiction here. From my understanding, the signs of addiction are not just a propensity to use the substance, but also propensity to utilise the substance in favour of more pleasurable activities and to store "stashes" of that substance for usage when you can't get to the main source.

But what about the gamer that takes every possible step to prevent from removing himself from the main source, as you say. What if a stash isn't needed because they just don't stop unless absolutely necessary, and even then there are examples of people who game themselves to death. Most people agree gambling is addictive, so can't video games be as well?

theSovietConnection:

But what about the gamer that takes every possible step to prevent from removing himself from the main source, as you say. What if a stash isn't needed because they just don't stop unless absolutely necessary, and even then there are examples of people who game themselves to death.

That isn't gaming himself to death. That's basic ignoring his body functions. People have been doing that since time immemorial. If you game past your insulin treatment, and you're diabetic, the diabetic seizure won't be caused by the game, will it?

Most people agree gambling is addictive, so can't video games be as well?

It's a different field of addiction though. Addiction primarily stems from the body needing to continue it's vice which shorts out the body. Gambling and gaming are vices, sure, but they're not addictions as much as they're the symptom of a higher mental crisis, I.E. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

If you treat gaming as an addicting substance, then you have to treat any pleasurable substance as an addicting substance, which, at the last count, included a good portion of living.

Gambling differs in that there is a specific trigger (to whit: money) which causes the rise in dopamine (the "high") and the deterioration in performance (the "low" - from losing). Gaming doesn't cover that as there is no specific trigger relevant to all addicts. Take an "addicting" game like Starcraft, for instance. What drives you is the wish to be rewarded, but unlike gambling, that wish can be completed multiple times and on multiple formats. That means it's less of a stimulus and more of a symptom of a larger dysfunction of the brain.

All of the "deaths" from gaming have been from individuals in poor health who have pushed their bodies past breaking point for the competitive element, rather than any set stimulus; that means it's a learned behaviour pattern rather than an induced behaviour pattern.

Treating the "addiction" will only remove the symptom, rather than the root cause. Our Starcraft gamer will probably be bored stiff with The Sims, but a poker addict will jump at the chance to play roulette.

Addiction is primarily a deterioration state, gaming can easily be development state - let's face it, we all play games when we're learning. What we need to treat is the OCD response that leads to game focussing, rather than the games themselves.

Like I said before, look at the "normal" individuals who imbibe dangerous amount of toxins, suffer violent mood-swings, dress up in strange ritual dress and are unable to rationalise it - just because their country is playing in a big tournament.

Cognitive therapy rather than substance therapy. Most of these people who die have already suffered from extreme cycles of stress and it may be that the game is helping them cope, rather than deteriorating their life.

Syntax Error:
I highly recommend seeing Second Skin before or after reading this article. It has no ulterior motives, it just shows the effect of WoW on normal people, who happen to play it. There's the story of this one guy in there that is VERY relevant to the first letter.

Watched this movie today. Agree it is quite relevant to the issues folks have raised in this thread. It shows people who have developed rich relationships and communities through gaming, and others who have ended up with somewhat stunted lives and even serious problems. Once again, I think its hard to characterize everyone's play as being any one thing: healthy, addictive, OCD, or anything else you might want to call it.

One thing missing from this movie--the impact of intensive gaming on younger and younger people. I see many young teenagers who get involved. Just as you would expect, some can handle it and some can not.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here