Posted: 10 August 2009 at 11:28am | IP Logged
Gaming Habits Are Becoming The Latest Addictions
The world is full of a variety of different addictive substances and behaviors including: drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco, caffeine, chocolate, gambling, pornography, the internet, and even credit credits, that at first can seem harmless and then they take their grip on the user. It is not uncommon for someone to associate the word addictive with something like smoking or gambling, because those habits often become addictive in nature. Yet, do we as individuals ever associate the words addiction and gaming in the same thought process?
You might not associate gaming with addiction because the American Medical Association has determined that it is not yet ready to classify gaming as a habit that has similar effects to the habit of gambling. And, although the American Medical Association may not be ready to classify it as an addiction, treatment centers around the world have been created to specifically help those who struggle with a gaming addiction.
Google China and Gaming Addiction and see what you get. Yes China. Many kids have died while gaming in there own homes in China.
Anyway, while at the treatment center, these gaming addicts go through a detox quite similar to the experience of anyone who would be suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction ā€¯ they basically quit cold turkey.
It would not be surprising to witness people experiencing gaming withdrawals if they were like the couple from Reno, Nevada that neglected their children because they preferred to play Dungeons & Dragons Online for hours instead. Everyday you hear stories about addicting games and people who become obsessed with their games and they become literal zombies like the ones they play on their games. If you talk to any of the makers of these popular games, including, StarCraft, EverQuest, Call of Duty, Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Worlds of Warcraft, they will tell you that these games are designed to be addictive in nature.
While people from the outside may view an addiction game in a negative light, those on the inside designer the game view it very positively. These gaming companies are in no way sitting around the table like a tobacco company trying to figure out ways to sell consumers an addictive substance that is bad for their health. However, they also deal with a double-edged sword ā€¯ if the game is not exciting to play (what most people would classify as addictive), who is going to buy their product?
This gray area can cause people to question certain games, specifically those that are controversial. One in particular, World of Warcraft (you might hear it called World of WarCrack), has been questioned time and time again regarding their intentions with their game and additionally whether or not they have crossed the line when it comes to addiction. The producers of the game disagree with any claims of false intentions, saying that they do the exact same thing every other company out there does only better and they attribute their success to customer service. Despite what they say, many people today still think the game is a cause of addiction for many people.
The designers and producers of these games are an easy target for placing blame on the addictive nature of gaming ā€¯ after all, they do profit from it. However, when you dig deeper and look at the social networking aspects involved in gaming, there may be more than just the design that contributes to the gaming addiction. Before the internet, people played games by themselves, however, now they can play with thousands of people across the world with which they share similar interests. It is definitely one more element contributing to their gaming addiction.
There are therapists today who specialize their work in Internet and computer addiction and they will tell you that social networking can be a major addiction for many people. Thus, when added to the mix on gaming it obviously enhances the problem. Additionally, the majority of gamers are teenagers or young males in there 20s that have spare time, lack friends, companionship, and even love. Unfortunately, there is little that pulls them away from their addiction.
Although gaming can be a fun activity and a social one, it is questionable how often is excessive. If you like gaming, make sure you have balance in your life and that the time you spend on the computer is not taking control of your life.
Bruce Cameron, M.S., LPC-S, LSOTP, CAS PA is in private practice in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.