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Game Addiction Clinic Swamped 249

Posted by Zonk
from the gaming-is-not-a-drug dept.
Via the Gamers with Jobs Press Pass, an article on The Australian site claiming that the Dutch gaming addiction clinic is swamped with fearful parents and glaze-eyed children. From the article: "Although experts are still debating whether excessive game playing counts as an addiction, Mr Bakker has no doubt that the symptoms are the same. 'If we see a car burning outside, we don't sit around wondering what to call it,' he said. 'It is not a chemical dependency, but it's got everything of an obsessive-compulsive disorder and all of the other stuff that comes with chemical dependency.' Tim, a 21-year-old from Utrecht, said he had hardly left his bedroom for five years because he was so obsessed by his computer games. "
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Game Addiction Clinic Swamped

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  • by TacNuke (890744) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:07PM (#15786179)
    Great now they can all get together and form their own guild..........
  • ... I'm busy training to be a professional gamer.
    • I'm glad that I don't have problems like those freaks. I have more important things to do with my time. [Hopes nobody notices that he has posted dozens of times on /. today alone.]
      • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @05:52PM (#15787113)
        You know, a lot of people watch television in excess of 4-6 hours a day. I've never once heard any of them referred to as "addicts."

        Likewise, a lot of retired people play golf all afternoon six days a week. Are they "addicted" to golf?

        Gaming is just another form of recreation, and like any form of recreation, some lazy slobs will do it to the point in which it interferes with their various "obligations" (school, work, family, etc.)

        That's hardly the same thing as somebody who suffers violent withdrawal symptoms when they go for a day without cocaine.
        • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:31PM (#15787618)
          You know, a lot of people watch television in excess of 4-6 hours a day. I've never once heard any of them referred to as "addicts."

          That's because very few of them have any obsessive compulsion to watch TV. You put them in a room with a TV and they'll watch it... its the path of least resistance to entertainment for a lot of people; for most of them its just lazyness.

          If you give them something else to do they won't get all anxious and grouchy until they can sit in front of the TV again. They might have a favorite show or two, or go out of their way to catch specific event... but they don't habitually miss work & school, stay up all night, skip meals and showers, and abandon their friends, just to put little more time in with the TV. If "a lot of people" started doing that then we probably -would- call them addicted.

          With video games, particularly MMOGS, however, this is exactly what they do. They'll spend every available waking moment playing them. They will give up their friends, they will skip meals, they will skip school & work.

          They aren't "lazy" at all. Laziness requires a certain level of passiveness. "Addicts" aren't passive. Quite the opposite - they will go to great lengths to keep playing as much as possible for as long as possible as often as possible.

          Whether or not its a chemical addiction with pysiological withdrawl effects or purely psychological doesn't really matter. Like compulsive gambling, it effects a surprising number of people, and it hits them hard. It is a real problem, and ignoring it or pretending its not real because theirs no obvious chemical dependancy isn't going do anyone any good.

          • Ok so what about the gamers that don't? What about those that play a lot, but only because that's what they like to do? Believe it or not it's perfectly possible to spend lots of time playing games, but simply because you've time to spend and that's what you like spending it on.

            For some reason when it's TV or sports or anything like that, it's seen as ok, even when people ARe obsessive about it (I know obsessive TV watchers) hwoever when it's games, oh my god, something horrible must be wrong.

            This is not to
        • I'm not a lazy slob and I fit in a part time job, full load uni, tv, several hours (2-4 min) of gaming a day, and I even manage about four hours sleep a night. So bah to your claims!
        • Cocaine doesn't actually have much in the way of withdrawal symptoms, because it doesn't interact with your opioid receptors. People get addicted to it, absolutely, but the withdrawal symptoms are not a whole lot worse than when you withdraw from coffee.

          Broadly, the withdrawal symptoms have been overstated by the government agencies for almost all drugs, as a way of scaring people off them. They get cooperation from drug addicts, who also overstate the withdrawal symptoms because it gives them an excuse for
        • People exist that compulsively read books, less now than before. And I'm not talking about comic books but books without pictures. Usually fiction books. Romance novels, Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, whatever.

          Some people compulsively read the Holy Bible once a week. Strange.
  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:12PM (#15786221)
    It's not so much that the building's swamped, they just didn't want to spawn the keys to the 2nd floor immediatly on release.
  • by rob1980 (941751) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:12PM (#15786222)
    Seriously.

    His parents were frightened of him because, weighing more than 130kg, he was too strong for them to confront. Eventually they threatened to kick him out unless he enrolled for a month of therapy.

    You're the parents, you make the rules. Pull the plug, take the computer away, do something, anything. You'd probably hit the roof if you caught your kid with a joint, but when he wants to wrap himself up in computer games you just fucking sit there and let it happen. That shit pisses me off. I hope this clinic is working with parents too to make sure they can control their child's behavior.
    • At least here in Chile, parents don't have any background as gamers. My generation is the one who started as it. So, from that perspective, parents here have no reference about how to handle videogames. But in any case it doesn't take to be a very bright parent to see that, if your child is hurting him/herself by doing nothing else but playing videogames alone, you need to do something.
      • My generation is the one who started as it. So, from that perspective, parents here have no reference about how to handle videogames. But in any case it doesn't take to be a very bright parent to see that, if your child is hurting him/herself by doing nothing else but playing videogames alone, you need to do something.

        Do something. Like turn the computer off and tell the kid to go play outside for a while? Is it really any different from 20 years ago, when parents worried that their kids were hurting th
    • They're in the same place far too many parents are these days.. off looking for something external to blame for their children's problems rather than their own percieved or real failures at parenthood.

      It's far kinder to the fragile ego of a modern parent to say their kid is "addicted to games," "has been corrupted by violent media and boobs on TV," or "has a chemical imbalance that requires pumping them full of Ritalin" rather than "I wasn't there when I should have been."

      Even the parents who aren't too c
      • I'd think that throughout the history of mankind, parents have had times when they thought "I wasn't there when I should have been." It's impossible to always be there. Those that understand this and are able to instill a sense of responsibility into their children can at least rest easier when they can't be "there."

        Life is full of mistakes, problems and other nasty things and the only way we'll ever progress is if we learn from them. That's the most important lesson anyone should learn, ever, and as lon
        • There's a difference between not protecting your child every moment of every day and pure neglect. If you see that they're hurting themselves and will continue to do so until someone intervenes, and yet you do nothing...well, I hardly need to tell you which that is.
        • Its funny to keep in mind that a lot of parents of older children(teenagers and above, the kind that get addicted to gaming) who are so over-protective of their children were themselves "flower children" of the 60s and 70s. Protesting the Vietnam war, having lots of anonymous sex and getting high on drugs that they couldn't even name all at the same time. Then they go full force the opposite direction when they became parents....Fascinating

          Today's "counter culture" sucks pretty much. I mean, look at th
    • Child? That's kind of the wrong word for a 130 kg (285 lb) 21-year-old. It makes sense to be apprehensive over how an addict that size might react when you take away his addiction.

      More to your point would have been the 6-year-old whose parents could do nothing but have a "chat" with him.

    • You're the parents, you make the rules. Pull the plug, take the computer away, do something, anything. You'd probably hit the roof if you caught your kid with a joint, but when he wants to wrap himself up in computer games you just fucking sit there and let it happen. That shit pisses me off. I hope this clinic is working with parents too to make sure they can control their child's behavior.

      It's not that simple for some parents, some parents are simply never around, that and there are other factors. Many t
    • You're the parents, you make the rules. Pull the plug, take the computer away, do something, anything.

      Depends on where you live and if you fear for your life with your kid. One of the major problems in inner cities on the east coast is many single mothers fear their 15-18 year old that is in a gang and is involved with drugs and guns.

      So much to a fact that they fear if they stand up to their kids they will be physically hurt by them or a gang member. I remember reading in a newspaper about one single mom tu
    • You're the parents, you make the rules. Pull the plug, take the computer away, do something, anything.

      Maybe when someone is deciding how to handle a problem with their own child, doing anything isn't good enough? Maybe they want to do the right thing

      It's odd to me that some Slashdotters take "the parents should be responsible" to mean "the parents should do all parenting alone". Parents are responsible for the behavior of their children, but if the behavior surpasses the parents ability to moderate/fix/heal, then why on earth should we mock the parents for seeking specialist help? Are we going to make fun of all youth counselors and child psychologists now because "You're the parent, you make the rule?" Part of holding parents responsible for their own children should be allowing them access to the tools they need to do that job right.

      -stormin
      • It's odd to me that some Slashdotters take "the parents should be responsible" to mean "the parents should do all parenting alone". Parents are responsible for the behavior of their children, but if the behavior surpasses the parents ability to moderate/fix/heal, then why on earth should we mock the parents for seeking specialist help? Are we going to make fun of all youth counselors and child psychologists now because "You're the parent, you make the rule?" Part of holding parents responsible for their own

        • WTF? I said "some slashdotters" not "the parent". My only direct reaction to the parent was the fact that maybe doing "anything" wasn't what most parents wanted to do.

          The rest was a reaction to a sentiment I've seen reflected across several other posts in this topic.

          -stormin
      • The problem is letting it get that far. I see far too many parents who have the "Well there's nothing I can do" attitude about a child's behaviour. Actually, yes there is. Nobody said it will be easy or fun, but you do have the power to make them do as you say. In extreme cases there's things like boot-camp schools and such. Either way the point is that if your child has a problem behaviour that you let develop to chronic levels, you are to blame for that. While you shouldn't be controlling and overbearing,
    • His parents were frightened of him because, weighing more than 130kg, he was too strong for them to confront. Eventually they threatened to kick him out unless he enrolled for a month of therapy.

      Yeah, that 130 kg (286 lbs) is pure muscle. The dude's totally ripped from sitting in his room, eating pizza for 5 years. Strong... yeah, strong smelling.

      Remember parents, what did the five fingers say to the face? SLAP!

  • and I'm a gameaholic.
  • wha? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrSquirrel (976630) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:22PM (#15786291)
    I may be 21 but sometimes I feel like an "old fogey" -- what happened to self control?! This isn't crack or nicotine or anything physically addiction, it's a video game. I play a LOT of video games when I have free time, but all it takes to stop is a little thing called will power. I don't understand why so many people can't just put down their damn controllers. You know, while they're in the game clinic, they should at least ship me their game library.
    • That's a little unfair. Why not tell the guy addicted to gambling to just put down the poker chips? Why not tell the people addicted to sex to just keep their pants on? Real additcion is all about the lack of willpower. That's the whole point of addiction.

      Besides, I already get dibs on the PS2 games.
      • Re:wha? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RsG (809189)
        Most people hooked on, say, heroin are forced to keep taking it for more reasons than mere lack of willpower. Chemical addiction carries signifigant withdrawl side effects, some of which can be life threatening. Trust me, if you've ever known a real addict, you wouldn't just sum up their addiction as "lack of willpower".

        People hooked on things that don't carry an external chemical componant, or are only very mildly chemically addictive, don't have that problem. Yes, addiction can be purely neurochemical,
        • Adding something to the parent post, I'd say that willpower is the issue when you start an addiction, even chemical ones. At the beginning of it, is easy to leave it because you have none or a very little body dependency, and it's only a matter of will. The problem is when you develop the dependency.

          Besides that, I agree 100% with parent. I play a lot of videogames too, sometimes addictively, but I still can push the power button to enjoy other things.
        • by Reziac (43301) *
          In simple terms, addiction isn't the *need* for something. It's the *inability to function without it*.

          Which is why people can't just apply willpower.

          And very often the addiction isn't really cured, but rather is replaced with another less-destructive addiction, such as the common scenario of the alcoholic who substitutes bible-thumping for booze.

    • Re:wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomlord (38815) <slashdot.krwtech@com> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:49PM (#15786472) Journal
      Eight years ago, my father had a brain aneurysm and stroke and I am his sole caregiver. I was 21 when it happened. I've mostly been stuck at home taking care of him for my entire 20s while I watched friends finish school, get married, have kids, etc. Between the area where I live and the limited ability I have to go out to enjoy life with my friends, I really started losing touch with society and became depressed.

      In 2003, my best friend bought EQ at the urging of one of his co-workers. After two months of him nagging me incessantly to try it, against my better judgement, I did. Everything started out fine, him and I would log on for 2-3 hours a night to play together and that was it. About two months into it, him and I were asked to become officers in our guild. At the point you become an officer, you suddenly feel a whole lot more responsibility and you feel like you're important - everyone in your guild counts on you. Not long after, I became our raid leader and, given the absence of the guild leader for a long period of time, people began to see me as the guild leader as well. Eight months in, I was tagged with the guild leadership officially. I now had seven officers and in the neighborhood of 120 guild members counting on me to be there. By now, I wasn't playing 2-3 hours a day, I was playing 8-12 hours a day. It wasn't reality, but it felt real enough - I was important to people and interacting with "society." Along the way, I met a girl from the other side of the US and we had a fairly turbulent relationship(mostly due to her being bipolar), but we were in love and planned to get married. I knew that EQ was taking up my entire life, but my girlfriend was there and that's how we spent time together from 3k miles apart and I was the engine the drove hundreds of cogs. At our peak, we had 1039 tagged toons.

      This spring, my relationship of two years ended with her and at the same time, the officers staged a coup as the pressures from EQ's death throes were mounting (yeah, EQ is dying, netcraft, server consolidations and mmogchart confirm it). About a month after I left the girl and my guild, I realized that I no longer had a reason to play and I simply logged off one night never to return again. That was three months ago last weekend.

      For me, it wasn't a game I was addicted to, it was all the social interaction, feeling important and spending time with my gf. After years of being depressed, it was nice to be somebody even if it didn't mean anything in real life. After the way things ended, my biggest regret is that the things that helped me break that addiction didn't happen earlier. Oddly enough, despite becoming "nothing" again, I haven't been depressed and I find myself enjoying the mundane things in life that I neglected for 2.5 years. I still frequently think about EQ and some of the fun times I had in it, but I have no urge to play it anymore... and I deliberately avoid anything that might suck me into a similar situation again. In the meantime, I'm trying to rebuild my life even though I feel that I'm fighting an uphill struggle now at 29.

      Our brains are an electro-chemical system and I would argue that the stimuli that make you feel important and good about yourself can be just as addicting as putting that cigarette up to your lips, especially when you and the rest of the world appear to have given up on each other. At 21, when you still have pretty much everything going for you and life hasn't completely knocked every one of your plans for the future out of whack, it's pretty easy to think idealistically about how everyone should be able to feel/be/do exactly like you.
      • Re:wha? (Score:2, Troll)

        by russellh (547685)
        great story, thanks for contributing.
      • Re:wha? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hurfy (735314)
        "it was nice to be somebody even if it didn't mean anything in real life"

        Why did it not 'mean' anything in real life?

        Are the people on the other end of those guildies not real people?
        Did they not enjoy your company/help/etc?
        Perhaps they needed a connection with someone as much as you did?

        Seems like you could be affecting real life, possibly more lives than otherwise.

        --in the same vein--

        What would be real life then?
        Anything past eating,pooping,sleeping ? (and sleeping doesn't even FEEL all that real ;)
        Bowlin
        • Re:wha? (Score:3, Informative)

          by phantomlord (38815)
          Why did it not 'mean' anything in real life?
          Are the people on the other end of those guildies not real people?
          Did they not enjoy your company/help/etc?
          Perhaps they needed a connection with someone as much as you did?
          Seems like you could be affecting real life, possibly more lives than otherwise.

          That's the exact line of reasoning I used to justify what I was doing. That EQ wasn't simply a game, that it meant much more than that, especially given that my gf and I would use it as our form of dating b
          • Re:wha? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by justchris (802302)
            None of what you said really disproves his point. The fact remains that the game was a very big part of your life at that point. Look at it a different way, if you hadn't been playing EQ, what would you have been doing? Your complaint when you started was that you had nothing to do with your life except look after your father. Any competent psychologist would see the EQ phase as a necessary stage in your life, something you needed to move forward to where you are now, much like a child has to go through
      • Why do people think it's 'not real' if it's conducted primarily on a computer?

        Before Everquest existed, I 'was somebody' online - ran a guild on a MUD (although not as big as yours), and eventually even ended up running the MUD itself. There were definitely some stretches where I'd often spend 16 hours a day on the computer.

        But I've also 'been somebody' in real life too. I have a real job with real responsibilities and most of the people I work with I have met once, or no times at all, and interact with almost entirely via computer. I'm also the president of one national non-profit organization with a few thousand members I never see, and run another business with 30,000 customers I don't see either.

        And I find that I often spend 16 hours a day on the computer.

        Now, most people would consider my job, my non-profit, and my business to be 'real life', and I enjoy them. So why are people who enjoy spending 16 hours a day doing something else on the computer not doing 'real life'? I really can't think of anything that's much different between the 16 hours a day I spend playing networked computer games and the 16 hours a day I spend doing various forms of (enjoyable) work. And while you may have felt compelled to play more everquest because people were depending on you, how is that any different than me feeling compelled to go to work for the same reason?

        Computer games are certainly no less productive than the time I've spent shooting pool at the bar. But somehow going out and shooting pool at the bar is OK while playing games at home is not - why? Also, why is someone who spends 16 hours a day reading books and/or watching TV considered to be doing 'real life'? All you're trading is a networked screen with a non-networked screen or page.

        Playing on the computer a lot, in and of itself, isn't an addiction. It's only natural that you're going to do the things you enjoy doing as much as you can, and playing computer games isn't any different than reading or anything else, except people who do those other activities want to pretend their life is more meaningful than computer gamers I guess.

        People need to understand what an addiction really is. If you are COMPELLED to do something so much that it interferes with your ability to pay your rent, feed yourself, or maintain relationships that are important to you, that's an addiction. If it consumes all of your free time, that's just recreation. And I think it's a tragedy to try and label someone an 'addict' just because of their prefered form of recreation.

        Anyway, the time you spend on EQ was real life. And it wasn't because you were 'addicted', it's because you enjoyed it. Not playing anymore wasn't an addiction-ending event; you just stopped enjoying playing so you stopped playing. Simple as that.
        • Before Everquest existed, I 'was somebody' online - ran a guild on a MUD (although not as big as yours), and eventually even ended up running the MUD itself. There were definitely some stretches where I'd often spend 16 hours a day on the computer.

          I had over 200 days played on just my main character over the course of the 927 days that I played. I had a further 60ish days played on my main alt, 120ish on my bazaar mule (of which, I was probably present for at least 50% of) and another 20 or so on my oth
    • No kidding. I maintain a WOW subscription, but I don't play it every day. On workdays I sometimes play for about 3 hours every other day or so, then I usually do about 6 hours on Sunday (the main day for my guild to do instances, basically the only time all of us can be there). Sometimes on Sunday it's not even 6 hours, usually only long enough to do the instance of the week and maybe a little bit before or after. This is only when I have free time though, and I often do find other things to do. It's s
      • My wife on the other hand, plays obsessively for 12-14 hours/day (usually when I'm at work or asleep) and gets really grouchy if she has to put it down even for a half hour. I'm seriously considering some iptables rules on my router to place limits on the times that WOW will function.

        Are you really enjoying your marriage then? Seriously, I've heard of (and spoken to) a lot of people in situations like this on both sides, and I begin to wonder at the point of the marriage at all. A lot of 'em don't even sp
    • Never played Civ when it first came out, did you?
    • by Nethead (1563)
      I may be 21 but sometimes I feel like an "old fogey"

      Trust me, if you're 21 (and in fair health) you do not feel like an "old fogey". Just wait 25 years and you'll understand what I'm talking about. If you wake up in the morning and nothing hurts.. you'll know you've died.

  • by metasecure (946666) * on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:24PM (#15786304)
    It was actually a mix of workplace burnout and World of Warcraft addiction, but I quit my well-paying job ($70k per annum) to play WoW full time.
    • How are you doing/coping now? Have you recovered your time and a job?
      When you quit, was it kind of like a planned extended vacation where you would get a job after a certain period of time, or did you just play WoW and not think about the future?

      Just curious.
      • Thanks for your concern.

        Now I restrict myself to raiding (Sun/Tues 6:30 thru Midnight and Mon/Wed 7:30 thru Midnight). I feel this is a pretty reasonable compromise.

        I am again working full time...

        When I quit I had saved up quite a bit of money and I just decided to live off that. Getting back into the work environment was a pretty serindipidious (sp?) event, an old friend called me and had a job opening, and I had decided I had to start working again.

        offtopic: i don't understand why I was modded troll. I ma
        • Now I restrict myself to raiding (Sun/Tues 6:30 thru Midnight and Mon/Wed 7:30 thru Midnight). I feel this is a pretty reasonable compromise.

          Not meaing to be insensitve, but doesn't anyone else think 20 hours (4 evenings) a week devoted to a video game is still an addiction? I mean 20 hours a week is a lot of time and still obsessive in my book. I doubt that most people on their deathbed wished that they had spent more time playing video games. At those times, it's regrets about people and relationships th

          • "Not meaing to be insensitve, but doesn't anyone else think 20 hours (4 evenings) a week devoted to a video game is still an addiction?"

            so i guess most people are addicted to TV then? Personally i appear to be addicted to cooking and working as well. Just because you do something alot doesnt mean you are addicted to it. Its a loaded word that is quite overused.

            "I doubt that most people on their deathbed wished that they had spent more time playing video games. At those times, it's regrets about people and r
          • Until recently I used to spend appx 15 hours a day reading. I was more than capable of reading while doing other things, I developed consumate skill at multitasking. Would you also consider that an addiction?
          • You think it's excessive just because you don't do it. However I'd bet I can find something you spend near as much time on, maybe more. Most people have something in their life that they spend more time on than anything else. Might be a hobby, might be watching TV, might be a sports league, whateve.r Few people really balance a ton of activities equally.

            There's nothing wrong with having the one thign you like doing, the only problem, the time when it starts ecomming an addicton, is when you do it to the exc
    • Do you get pay out of that (I guess not)? Or you mean to quit for a short period of time for a break...?
  • by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:29PM (#15786332) Homepage

    I think for the most part it's a result of overreactive parents, combined with what I like to call "baby sitter syndrome" ("Why won't the public school teach my kids morals?!?! Why won't the gov't baby sit my kids?!?! Oh my, my kids are playing video games all the time, and I can't turn it off because they cry and scream and make a scene! I need a Gaming Clinic/Baby sitter to fix my kids for me!")

    Disclaimer: I don't have kids of my own so the above is probably warped by views of other people who don't have kids of their own, not to mention stereotypes are rarely all-encompassing. Don't take it too personally. I was, however, at one point a kid, and I did have parents (who restricted my video gaming and computer time) so I think I still have some things to say on the matter.

    Gaming for me was a phase. I always have enjoyed a good game, but it's not the same as it was when I was a kid. I would play games for hours on end, but now it seems my standards are higher or my attention span lower, because games don't tend to "hook" me as often as they used to.

    I still enjoy a good game of course, but I think I'm still largely "gamed out" from when I was a kid.

  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:33PM (#15786360)
    I personally have met someone who was addicted to World of Warcraft- he stopped going to classes to play, would fall asleep at his chair while his characted rested, and unless he's changed since I graduated, has probably flunked out of college by this point.

    However, for all that, I don't think that gaming addiction is all that common- compared to alcholism [wikipedia.org] or compulsive gambling [wikipedia.org] the number of gaming 'addicts' are trivial. Also, gaming is less physically harmful than alcohol or drugs, and much cheaper to indulge in than compulsive gambling.

    I suspect that the same people who are susceptible to compulsive gambling are also the compulsive gamers, so research on the larger, more important issue (compulsive gambling) might also help compulsive gamers.
    • by Miniluv (165290) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:45PM (#15786443) Homepage
      There's more and more research emerging to support the hypothesis that any addiction to a substance without physically addictive qualities (i.e. crack and its ilk) are all rooted in the same dopamine reactions. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1669601/p osts [freerepublic.com] is a short synopsis of a story I read in long form in Chicago magazine about a woman who took a drug that affected how her brain handled dopamine and ended up with a massive gambling addiction. Stopping the meds brought back her original problem but allowed her to almost effortlessly quit gambling.

      All of these non-chemical addictions seem to have the same core symptoms. People do something that makes them feel good. They do it often and begin to notice other things don't feel good anymore, then they notice they need to do this new thing more and more to keep the good feeling coming. Just because our brain makes a chemical doesn't mean it won't acquire a tolerance to it.
      • That's an interesting point. But shouldn't some of the "addictive behaviour" be attributed to some folks who are obsessive-compulsive who have worked in video games into their pattern? Psych isn't my thing so I don't know it well, I'm just guessing and wondering out loud.
        • Probably so, however my guess (and its just that, also not being a psych or neuroscience guy) is that the obsessive-compulsive behavior is fueled by dopamine (or other chemical) mishandling by the brain. Not sure if this would also cover true OCD, way outside my knowledge.

          I do know that as someone who is highly susceptible to addictive behavior I hope to see a lot more research in this area. Behavior control is damn hard, and its frustrating to sometimes have to abandon things early to avoid letting them ru
      • People do something that makes them feel good. They do it often and begin to notice other things don't feel good anymore, then they notice they need to do this new thing more and more to keep the good feeling coming. Just because our brain makes a chemical doesn't mean it won't acquire a tolerance to it.

        Some people do not have this tolerance, there are people out there who never get bored with certain depth of repetition.

        Boredom is survival function, but in some people it simply does not work in the same wa
      • There's more and more research emerging to support the hypothesis that any addiction to a substance without physically addictive qualities (i.e. crack and its ilk) are all rooted in the same dopamine reactions. You know, a lot of obsessive-compulsive people havev multiple mental "addictions." I wonder if OCD is linked to those dopamine reactions - it'd make a lot of sense, wouldn't it?
  • I can quit (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:35PM (#15786377)
    I can quit anytime I want. Really, I can! In fact, I was going to quit after I hit level 60. But now, I've decided I'm going to quit after I get all my Epic gear. That's right! After I get all my Epic gear, I'm really really going to quit. I promise!
  • by Threni (635302) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:47PM (#15786451)
    > 'If we see a car burning outside, we don't sit around wondering what to call it,'

    I do. That one looks like Ian the inferno, but last time Steve Scorchup seemed more appropriate.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @03:48PM (#15786466)
    Am I the only one who wonders if there isn't some ulterior motivation behind these people coming forth and claiming this "addiction?" Reminds me of the unusually high numbers of "back injuries" in the U.S. in certain neighborhoods and regions (also usually the same places you'll find high concentrations of meth labs).

    Are these "addicts" getting the Dutch equivalent of disability payments for this bullshit?

    -Eric

  • Addiction? (Score:5, Funny)

    by CaseM (746707) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @04:08PM (#15786576)
    Hell with that. I don't have time to be addicted...I have a raid schedule to keep.
  • From TFA:

    Although experts are still debating whether excessive game playing counts as an addiction, Mr Bakker has no doubt that the symptoms are the same. "If we see a car burning outside, we don't sit around wondering what to call it," he said.

    Am I the only one who finds that metaphor a bit puzzling? Maybe it works better in Dutch or something.

  • The reality you deal wih inside a virtual world can be much better than the one you have to deal with in the "real" world. This is why the games are attractive. One gets to control much more inside virtual environments, and the metrics for success are much easier to attain.

  • Last week, Mr Bakker took his first group of "gamers", as he calls them, on a parachuting trip to take their minds off their computers.

    Ohh! gamers huh? Thats a pretty good name that you just came up with Mr. Bakker!!! (In his defence, I'm sure its the fault of The Australian and their staff)
  • by Il128 (467312) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @04:44PM (#15786777) Journal
    Medical condition. Before the self obsessed BabyBoomers started raising children the majority of young boys didn't have A.D.D.. This is all just one more "What about me!" from the BabyBoomer generation. "My kids aren't perfect! Fix them!" This is coming from the people who invented, "Turn on. Tune in. Drop out." "Free love" and your classic 1960's 1970's do it if it feels good self absorbed generation. As my hero George Carlin put it, "From cocaine to rogain". ""These are perfectly decent kids whose lives have been taken over by an addiction," said Mr Bakker, a former drug addict. "Some have given up school so they can play games. They have no friends. They don't speak to their parents."" Giving up school? Normal. No friends? Normal. Who didn't feel isolated in high school? Not speaking to parents? Normal. Sounds like the kids aren't watching TV all hours of the day and night and the new technology is frightening mummy.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You have to remember... "Normal" teenagers are addicted to watching sweaty men in helmets beat the shit out of one another over an oval shaped ball. "Normal" teenagers watch cars go around in circles, waiting for someone to crash and die. "Normal" kids are all about what clothes they wear, what people they hang out with and how much money they carry around. We call this "Social Status". Kids that aren't centered around this aren't normal, no sir.

      And you know what we do with those kinds of kids? Give them dr
  • Game addiction? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @05:11PM (#15786914)
    We used to call this neurosis. The actual neurotic behavior isn't really all that important. What is important is addressing the underlying causes, which often have little or nothing to do with the resulting behavior. This guy obviously has a problem, but obsessive gaming is just the symptom. He could equally well be compulsively plucking his eyebrows or watching TV.
  • 'It is not a chemical dependency, but it's got everything of an obsessive-compulsive disorder and all of the other stuff that comes with chemical dependency.' Tim, a 21-year-old from Utrecht, said he had hardly left his bedroom for five years because he was so obsessed by his computer games. "

    If it has all the conditions of obsessive-compulsive disorder, then guess what it might be? It might just be, gasp, obsessive-compulsive disorder!
    Blaming a videogame on something which they admit, looks like OCD, is ve

  • Of course this isn't funny.

    http://www.civanon.com/ [civanon.com]

  • The /. summary makes it sound like there's rampant gaming addiction brought on by game-manufacturers. I think the odds are that the patients of these clinics have some other kind of physical or psychological problem which just so happens to rear its ugly head when some other form of activity is introduced, specifically gaming. The same can be said of gambling, drinking, drugs, sex, tv-watching, etc., but somehow this is so much worse because children are at stake? Cmon! Parents, be thankful you caught your
  • Just pull the plug and sell your console. Problem solved. There's nothing to "treat" here.
  • ... or basketball, soccer, or any other countless things that kids "waste" their time doing? These things are arguably even detrimental: the kids could be learning a marketable trade instead of spending their time learning a skill that has little to no value in the real world.

    I question the validity of any "science" that assumes that computer-gaming habits are inherently different from other things kids waste their time doing, without proper evidence-backed arguments supporting such differentiation.

  • come on (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bigmauler (905356)
    Wow I didn't know I would get to say this so soon.
    When I was a kid my parents didn't put up with this behaviour. Playing too much video games? Cut power to my room! Harsh? I hardly think so.
    I blame a lot of this kind of trash on pussy foot parents.

    Parents have to be involved with kids. You can't raise a good kid though this bullshit of purely peace, love and happiness and "non aggression". Not to be confused with hitting children. Parents can't just let kids get away with things and think pills or avoi

  • by master_p (608214) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:36AM (#15789430)
    Sometimes when a teenager or young person plays computer games excessively, there is another problem hidden underneath. Usually when a young boy (not that females are not affected, but the majority of the cases are male) stays in and plays computer games all day, it is because he finds it easier to beat the game than confronting society and his problems.

    My advice to parents is to pay attention to their children and what the messages their children send. It is really important to be able to tell what's bugging your kid and deal with it.

One of the most overlooked advantages to computers is... If they do foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little. -- Joe Martin

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