South Korea Discovers StarCraft Addiction Drug

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South Korea Discovers StarCraft Addiction Drug

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Doctors in South Korea claim that they're found a method to treat patients addicted to Zerglings.

A study conducted by South Korean psychiatrists from Chung Ang University may have proven that videogame addiction can be treated with a pill. After administering Bupropion - a drug proven to aid in substance abuse dependency - to so-called videogame addicts, they responded less strongly to the allure of the Zerg.

Eleven test subjects exhibited symptoms for Internet Videogame Addiction (what the study calls IAG) such as skipping school or getting divorced due to at least four hours a day of videogame play, with all subjects playing StarCraft II for more than 30 hours a week. They were put on a six-week program of Bupropion.

After the six weeks were up, the researchers found that the IAG group's cravings for StarCraft II were reduced by 23.6% and that their total playing time had decreased by 35.4%. Using MRI scans, it was also determined that the drug had reduced the videogame addicts' brain activity when they were shown pictures of StarCraft II's Zerglings.

The research suggests that Bupropion may change brain activity in a way that can help treat those than can't handle their videogame habit responsibly. It might be an easy reaction to say that these results are total garbage, as brain-altering drugs will often change a person's activities no matter what. Games make people feel good though, just like drugs (don't do drugs), and can often be used in a similar and unhealthy way. I have a few 14-hour days of Dark Age of Camelot under my belt that I'm not too proud of myself. It's not that incredible to me that a drug made to treat substance abuse could also possibly treat videogame abuse when much of the cause of both can be inside the brain.

Source: Wired UK, via GamePolitics

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Wow, I knew Starcraft addiction in Korea was bad but I didnt think that it got so bad that people were studying whether they'd be better off on drugs.

We must destroy this drug! The Overmind wills it!

"Games make people feel good though, just like drugs (don't do drugs)"

Winners don't do drug -- Tom Goldman

I wonder how much this drug affects other activities. Maybe they just play less because they are too high on Bupropion to do anything.

Well hope the world never needs wide spread use of this, or the at least the idea of drug treatment. Hopefully gamers in general will improve rather then spiral down. I'd hate to see the day where parents will be so convinced that video games are the "problem" to the point where those parents will use a drug treatment to solve the "problem".

I want to see a double blind study with placebos in South Korea and other countries; a wide range of data would be interesting to say the least.

Good for them, I guess. But I'd rather get a friend to lock away the computer then take pills for a game addiction. Isn't it dangerous in the long run? I mean, we are messing around with the chemistry of the brain and all that.

Video game addiction isn't about getting cured, it's just like most mental addictions: Once you gain control of it instead of letting you control it there's not much of a problem left,

I've said before, video game addiction is just as legitimate and serious as any other addiction. People can be addicted to gambling, sex, various alcohol and drugs, coffee, adrenaline rushes, TV, your iPhone, etc...and video games are no exception and why would they be an exception? Video games can be just as addictive and life-consuming as anything else and it should be treated like any other serious addiction. It's all about responsibility and balance.

It's good to see that these people have found help for this stuff, though I'm inclined to believe it's more of a placebo effect than an actual "cure" for it.

Meh, I wouldn't take any drugs that would alter something in my brain. Plus if I ever decide I don't need it anymore I would go right back to playing again. NOW IF I DIDN'T TAKE IT and stop playing as much I have a higher chance of not getting sucked back in. Now if your like that guy that spent like 20,000 hours in one game, I can see why you need it but once you get it down low you still have to do it without the drugs or else you just go back to playing. Honestly this will work about as well as those stupid camps that try to "fix" these kids.

The Great JT:
We must destroy this drug! The Overmind wills it!

Worry not, young cerebrate. We shall assimilate with these tactical genii Terran, given time. Nothing shall stop The Swarm!

Maybe it's not the drug, maybe they just got bored of the repetitive gameplay? 30 hours a week is over 4 hours a day, over 6 weeks thats 180 hours of playtime, with avarage match length between 10 and 15 minutes it gives more less ~20 matches a day, 140 matches a week, and total of 840 matches. You can really get sick seeing even picture of a zerg after that much. Don't need drugs for that.

It started out just a zerg rush every few days, then next thing I knew I was doing five to seven zerg rushes a day... It only went down hill from there. Now thanks to the meds I am zerg free.

Ok my only worry is how long does one have to stay on the pills? Am I trading one addiction for another? I hope this helps the true addicts, but I have a fear in the back of my mind.

This just in, Science finds cure for video games! That's right we can now fix your children with pills and brain chips!

Lets take away the one thing that makes South Koreans happy.

Only in Korea would they be researching this...only in Korea

Last Bullet:

The Great JT:
We must destroy this drug! The Overmind wills it!

Worry not, young cerebrate. We shall assimilate with these tactical genii Terran, given time. Nothing shall stop The Swarm!

*Spawns 20 Overlords* The preperations for the brood are complete, we shall now attack with the full fury of the swarm... SEND IN THE MASS ZERGLINGS!

I find it funny how they are actually using a drug to curb video game addiction.

"Hmmm, he's having fun, it must be unhealthy! Qick someone pump him full of drugs with terrible side effects!"

Last Bullet:

The Great JT:
We must destroy this drug! The Overmind wills it!

Worry not, young cerebrate. We shall assimilate with these tactical genii Terran, given time. Nothing shall stop The Swarm!

FOR THE EMPEROR! DEATH TO ALL XENOS! Woops sorry, wrong franchise guys.

Ahem, so in my home country there is a pill to stop addiction? That's a good thing I guess...

Jaredin:
Only in Korea would they be researching this...only in Korea

America might do that too, their addiction is terrible as well. I'm not saying you live there by the way

That's interesting, I wonder what Bupropion does.

Oh, catalyses and increases (sometimes severe) hypertension, increases the chance of seizure. Of the 540,000 people tested in the UK only 60 had fatal results. Three cases of liver toxicity, and one case of clitoral priapism.

Not including basic adverse reactions like dry mouth, nausea, insomnia, tremor, excessive sweating and tinnitus.

And reports of unusual behavior changes, agitation and hostility, are just reports. As is the rare cases of Mania. As is Psychosis, delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and confusion.

But you can always stop it, although cold turkey does occasionally lead to dystonia, irritability, anxiety, mania, headache, aches and pains.

But at least you're not addicted to Warcraft. Better living through chemicals!

2fish:
Ok my only worry is how long does one have to stay on the pills? Am I trading one addiction for another?

Not all that long. It's one of the same things they use to help people stop smoking (and incidentally, bupropion is the generic name and doesn't need capitalizing, while the brand names for it like Wellbutrin/Zyban do). I've known people who've taken it for that and stopped after all of a month with no problems, although some may take a bit longer. Also, bupropion is not addictive anyway.

Edit: And to the person above me, the vast majority of those things are pretty rare and tend to be associated with/significantly more common with higher doses (which, not surprisingly, is why they have recommended limits that are below the levels associated with an increased risk of those things happening) and/or with people who already have psychiatric/neurological issues. It's obviously not completely harmless, because anything that has zero ability to cause unwanted side effects also has zero ability to cause beneficial effects, but it's generally a fairly benign medication for most people and has been in use for a long time and is fairly well understood.

You know when something becomes a problem when people start perscribing pills to cure it. Seriously, what kind of world do we live in for that kind of research to even get funding?

It might be the fact that "Decreased brain activity" was mentioned, but I kind of think that they should have tried some pictures of other things. Just to make sure they haven't done something unintentionally to their subjects brains.

Seems like there is a lot of room for errors in there to me :/

I am sure it can reduce brain activity around videogames.

But I fear that, like most drugs currently available, it reduces brain activity overall as well. Maybe you can't feel as good about videogames anymore. But what good is this solution if the drug also reduces the way you feel about your job...your spouse? That's the question I wonder about these statistics really. How much overkill is there involved. I seriously doubt that the drug manages to wholly affect the dopamine levels somehow and has zero side-effects, that would not inhibit the user in their daily lives otherwise.

The hive cluster is under attack!

I'm not a huge fan of finding excuses to put more pills in your body. I mean sure, the game can be addictive, but it's not literally cocaine. Drugs affect the synaptic connections in your brain and that causes physical addiction. I believe gaming cannot do that; the symptoms are psychological rather than physical and therefore should be treated as such.

Guys, if your kids aren't doing drugs, don't drug them. If you really have to, take them to a shrink.

Hmm, I call bullshit.

You can't run a trial of a mere eleven people and draw conclusive results. Added on to that, if you have an outside party clocking up your hours under the pretence of a clinical trial, of course that's going to affect the results, conciously or not.

The_root_of_all_evil:
That's interesting, I wonder what Bupropion does.

Oh, catalyses and increases (sometimes severe) hypertension, increases the chance of seizure. Of the 540,000 people tested in the UK only 60 had fatal results. Three cases of liver toxicity, and one case of clitoral priapism.

Not including basic adverse reactions like dry mouth, nausea, insomnia, tremor, excessive sweating and tinnitus.

And reports of unusual behavior changes, agitation and hostility, are just reports. As is the rare cases of Mania. As is Psychosis, delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and confusion.

But you can always stop it, although cold turkey does occasionally lead to dystonia, irritability, anxiety, mania, headache, aches and pains.

But at least you're not addicted to Warcraft. Better living through chemicals!

You do realize it's pretty much same with all pills that you get to take whenever you have even mild mental issues? Soft anti-depressants have similar listings of effects. Pointing such things out is silly, there is reason why such drugs are only available with a prescription, preferably from a doctor that specializes in psychiatry.

And you are not living through chemicals. Such meds are usually very limited in the doses you can take and usually the treatment lasts only few weeks, 2 months top, then you have a break before you go for another round if your mental state didn't improve.
Dry mouth, nausea confusion, etc are pretty much common with all drugs affecting your mental state, even sleeping pills have that, and if you would check some common meds for simple somatic diseases you most likely took over the course of your life the effects are not much different.

Yeah I guess it wouldn't do me harm to get away from the vespene gas.

This is all well and good, but what about side effects and how it will affect other productivity? These days more people are dependent on a computer in some form or fashion for their work. It is like in my case if I am taking an order from someone, the drug kicks in and suddenly I could care less what they want to order.
I am getting so sick and tired of this mentality that there is a drug for everything.
Need a lucky night? Take a viagra! But wait! Drugs are bad for you!
And then there is the situation where you do take drugs to help a mental disorder. You take the drug and you feel better. Once you feel better, you stop taking the drug. What's the point?
Frankly this is a sign that Korea is getting way over their heads in technology and gaming. What really should be done is starting emphasis on distractions, finding something different to do for a couple hours a day.
Otherwise someday North Korea is going to walk right in and take over, and nobody would have noticed until Kim Jong-il pulls the plug. Doh!

I don't like this much on the grounds that this is probably a pill that kills the pleasure center that awards mental effort. Yay, a drug to make people stupid, but hey, at least they don't like Starcraft as much.

Is the drug an artificial copy of yahtzee's blood?

It's called a girlfriend.

Geez, now we need pills because of video games. For fuck sake, somebody take out these fucking drug cartels. They're a much bigger problem than video games will ever be!

Keava:

You do realize it's pretty much same with all pills that you get to take whenever you have even mild mental issues? Soft anti-depressants have similar listings of effects. Pointing such things out is silly, there is reason why such drugs are only available with a prescription, preferably from a doctor that specializes in psychiatry.

Hell's teeth, I'm gonna start putting sarcasm stickers on my posts from now on. ;)

Yeah, I'm epiletic. I know about mind chemicals.

And you are not living through chemicals. Such meds are usually very limited in the doses you can take and usually the treatment lasts only few weeks, 2 months top, then you have a break before you go for another round if your mental state didn't improve.

The problem is that they're treating a non-existant condition. I wouldn't want Tegretol if I was shivering from the cold.

My point was that the effects of Bupropion are far worse than the "condition" it treats.

Jumplion:
I've said before, video game addiction is just as legitimate and serious as any other addiction. People can be addicted to gambling, sex, various alcohol and drugs, coffee, adrenaline rushes, TV, your iPhone, etc...and video games are no exception and why would they be an exception? Video games can be just as addictive and life-consuming as anything else and it should be treated like any other serious addiction. It's all about responsibility and balance.

Wrong. People can get obsessed over video games. I dont think people can get addicted to video games because with an actual addiction like drugs, it physically alters your brain so you need more of it. Video games dont do that.

This is like giving Ritalin to hyper kids.

Seriously, what the hell?

The_root_of_all_evil:

Hell's teeth, I'm gonna start putting sarcasm stickers on my posts from now on. ;)

Yeah, I'm epiletic. I know about mind chemicals.

It was proved to help on the internet when sarcasm and plain ignorance are often hard to distinguish in just plain text.

The problem is that they're treating a non-existant condition. I wouldn't want Tegretol if I was shivering from the cold.

My point was that the effects of Bupropion are far worse than the "condition" it treats.

Is it? I don't know. Keep in mind you see it from western culture perspective, while Asia had several cases of people doing really stupid things tied to both videogame culture and anime culture. Parents that forgot to feed their young child for days, teens ending up in hospitals due to lack of sleep because they were playing for way too long. When it starts to be a threat to health it starts to also be a mental condition.
The fact it doesn't affect you or your friends, or people you heard about doesn't change the fact that someone, somewhere may actually be addicted.

lma0nade:

Wrong. People can get obsessed over video games. I dont think people can get addicted to video games because with an actual addiction like drugs, it physically alters your brain so you need more of it. Video games dont do that.

Wrong. While playing games or doing any other activity that brings you enjoyment your brain produces more of certain hormones. Since your body has it's own limits of how much of given hormone it tolerates, over extensive periods of time it may get a little out of control and your body will get used to the higher than average levels, leading to depressive mood swings when you do not perform said activity on regular basis. And that is sign of addiction.

lma0nade:

Jumplion:
I've said before, video game addiction is just as legitimate and serious as any other addiction. People can be addicted to gambling, sex, various alcohol and drugs, coffee, adrenaline rushes, TV, your iPhone, etc...and video games are no exception and why would they be an exception? Video games can be just as addictive and life-consuming as anything else and it should be treated like any other serious addiction. It's all about responsibility and balance.

Wrong. People can get obsessed over video games. I dont think people can get addicted to video games because with an actual addiction like drugs, it physically alters your brain so you need more of it. Video games dont do that.

...I'm sorry, personally, I thinks that's completely and utterly false. No no no no no no no. Just no. I'm really sorry if I'm coming off as a jerk, but just no no.

Video Games, and many electronics, as well as gambling, do that all the time, you know that feeling when a boss destroyed you over and over again and then after hours of training and leveling up your character you finally defeat him? Yeah, we gamers thrive on that feeling. The high of beating that boss and we continue playing in hopes of another high.

Now put that feeling until you're dependent on it. Your real life sucks, you want to escape, and so you find a way to escape through video games. Problem is you let it consume you too easily and you don't try healthy doses. That's the case for a lot of addicts, they just get into it because they want to escape.

And what's the difference between "obsessed" and "addicted"? Seriously, that's not a big enough difference for me to really differentiate between the two.

Typical addiction syndromes include;
Skipping work for the addiction.
Skipping school.
Dependency.
Lack of social skills.
etc...

Now just replace "addiction syndromes" with "Halo 3 launch" and you get the idea.

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