Video game addiction

So, what are your thoughts on the subject of video game addiction? There are people who believe its real and there are other people who do not believe its real. Which one do you think?

I think it’s real, but probably not a literal addiction. It’s whatever a gambling addiction is under. I don’t know anyone who suffers from it personally. I know some people who’ll ditch social events or work to play a new game, which I think is pretty sketchy, but it doesn’t destroy their lives to do that so I don’t consider that gaming addiction.

People can get addicted to anything pleasurable (there are people addicted to running for example thanks to the “runner’s high”, who will try to run on a broken leg). But there’s nothing special about video games. If you want to eliminate everything that can cause addiction, you are talking about literally eliminating happiness from the world. Definitely a cure much worse than the disease.

That’s the most important thing; there really isn’t anything special about video games that isn’t there with plenty of other enjoyable pursuits.

It’s just that when someone does the same behaviors in pursuit of fitness, they’re lauded for it, and if they do it for a sport of some kind, they’re considered some kind of “serious amateur”. But when it’s video games, that prejudice that was mentioned in an earlier thread comes to the forefront, and it’s seen as something sinister and/or childish.

That said, I don’t understand the people who seem to do NOTHING but eat, excrete and play video games. I run across them in multiplayer games- they’re the ones who are ridiculously high level after like 2 weeks- because they’ve played 18 hours a day every day since the game release.

I went on a 2-week video game bender once when I had jiardia, and it was the perfect distraction to an otherwise shitty situation. A good 15% of that gaming time was probably done on the toilet :o

Those people tend to be kids though, without any responsibilities, and often without any moderating effort from their parents.

I think it’s very real and even though it’s not listed in the DSM yet, I predict it will be in the next 10-20 years.

I would be very interested to learn if the same brain cortices are activated when playing video games as when having a dissociative episode.

I used video games as a means to escape for a few years, beginning in college. It was just a manifestation of my existing depression. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t had computer games at that time in my life, I would have just read all the time. On my worst days, I could just barely drag myself up out of bed and would run in circles in my game of choice. If I hadn’t had gaming, I probably would have stayed in bed and watched tv (or stared at the ceiling) on those days. Some people might have called my behavior an addiction. I’m sure it looked like one. But there was a larger issue at hand in my life. And if I hadn’t had games, I just would have done something else nonproductive instead.

“Video game addiction” is so hard to separate from “depression” that I think it’s just a matter of time before the former goes away as a diagnosis.

I feel that’s like saying alcoholism is hard to separate from depression. The two go hand-in-hand, yet they are separate diagnoses.

Alcoholism has a chemical component that “video game addiction” lacks. That’s why I don’t like the diagnosis and why I don’t think it’s real.

Sex addiction, sports addiction or any other sort of “adrenaline junkie-ness”, compulsive eating (or the last one I had a chuckle about, orthorexia), hoarding… Or head-over-heels love, when I think about it. Not much “chemical components” going on there other than what the brain makes. Addictive personnalities will get addicted to anything. I don’t doubt that VG addiction is a Thing too.
I do doubt it’s such a huuuuge or prevalent problem that it needs dire sounding PSAs, regular hammering in the news and the like. That’s just News to Scare Old People Who Don’t Get It With.

I was that guy back in college, for a couple months or so. Bad (also first) break-up. At the time DAoC had just opened brand new servers and it seemed like a good idea to be one of the first max level’d guys out there. I broke out of my funk before I reached *that *target, too :frowning: :slight_smile:

Sex addiction… something cheaters say when they get caught

sports addiction… huh? Do you mean “runner’s high” or are you referring to people who watch too much sports? Either way, not real.

adrenaline junkie-ness… is this really an addiction? Has anyone ever described this is as an addiction?

compulsive eating… a medical way of saying you eat too much. You’re not addicted, you’re fact (I know of what I speak). But if you want to get technical, there is a chemical component to overeating.

orthorexia… picky eating is now an addiction?

hoarding… depression and/or some other form of mental illness.

Well, as a Certified Insane ™ person (bipolar/depression, if you must know), I can tell you that my doctors and counselors have actually encouraged me to play video games on a semi-regular basis. The idea is, I guess, that doing something which takes me away from the work and family life that is feeding my depressive and borderline behaviors is something to be welcomed. Sitting around whacking monsters in Torchlight 2 is certainly preferable to sitting around thinking suicidal thoughts. And fighting insomnia by turning a few quests in Oblivion is much better than sitting up all night thinking bad things.

Of course my doctors have encouraged other things–exercise, hobbies, traveling, other things like that. But video games are the most convenient of their suggestions. My computer is going to be nearby anyway, and while I do exercise, I either have to go to the gym or hope for good weather. Hobbies and traveling can get expensive, and honestly in my experience hobbies can be a bit addicting in their own right.

Now it’s possible I have a non-addictive personality when it comes to video games. I just can’t seem to finish most of the games I play. I haven’t even come close to finishing Oblivion, despite starting over a dozen characters, and my insistence on playing Hardcore only on Torchlight 1/2 pretty much doomed any chance of winning them. But can you imagine my doctors suggesting alcohol, or recreational drugs, or the like to help my problems? I don’t think they seriously think video games are in and of themselves addictive, and neither should anyone else.

Not really. Nymphomania really is a thing. It’s not much fun on either end, apparently.

I meant addiction to doing sports, since that does result in an addictive high. Whether you believe it or not is not really a factor considered by organic chemists :slight_smile:

Addiction doesn’t just mean “doing X too much”.

It’s not just “picky eating” and yes, one can get “addicted to eating healthy” to the point of profound dysfunctionality. Think OCD with more self-induced puking or punitive fasting.

Video game addiction… depression and/or some other form of mental illness :rolleyes:

That’s my point!

I went through something fairly similar starting in 2002 when I had a series of failures in my personal life: really bad breakup, flunking out of university, losing my apartment. I ended up playing EQ1 over 100 hours/week. At the time it felt like an addiction, a compulsive need to play so I wouldn’t need to face the bleakness of real life and constant suicidal thoughts. But given how I eventually got over it and have no issues with gaming these days I’m not sure if it actually counts as a proper addiction.

Still, I’ve often wondered what would’ve happened if I hadn’t had that method of escapism available at the time - would I have killed myself or would it made the slow journey back to life a bit faster? Hard to tell afterwards.

It’s real, but it’s not something inherent within the games, but the person. Just as people react differently to alcohol (from “Yech!” to “Let’s drink myself to death!”), others will react to video games.
ETA: Or what Der Trihs said.

Does not exist except as a symptom of a real problem.

If someone is disappearing into games, it means there is some sort of chemical imbalance somewhere in their brain. That imbalance is manifesting itself as a desire to lose themselves in video games. If there were no games, that imbalance would manifest itself in a different way. The games are just a catalyst for something that will get out one way or another.

Damaged people sometimes get addicted to video games. Video games do not somehow created damaged (“addicted”) people.

Video games activate the reward centers of the brain. That constant activation can become addictive. I’m not sure what the debate is here.