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Detox Clinic Opening for Video Game Addicts 210

Blue6 writes "An addiction center is opening Europe's first detox clinic for game addicts, offering in-house treatment for people who can't leave their joysticks alone. Video games may look innocent, but they can be as addictive as gambling or drugs, and just as hard to kick, says Keith Bakker, director of Amsterdam-based Smith & Jones Addiction Consultants." I'm pretty sure the amount of time I've spent in the world of Azeroth in the past year counts as addiction. Someone tell my parents I still love them, while I mine this ore.
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Detox Clinic Opening for Video Game Addicts

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  • Newspeak (Score:5, Funny)

    by lga ( 172042 ) * on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:44AM (#15500608) Homepage Journal
    "Addiction Consultants" - is that what we are calling drug dealers now?
  • Joysticks (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:44AM (#15500610)
    I can't leave mine alone either.
    • by AstrumPreliator ( 708436 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:20AM (#15500697)
      They have a different clinic for that joystick problem.
    • I've been spending way too much time playing games to play with my joystick...

      H.
  • by mo'o ahi ( 633487 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:45AM (#15500611)
    Hi, my name is Mo and I'm a Quake addict...
  • DUPE (Score:3, Informative)

    by ClamIAm ( 926466 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:45AM (#15500614)
  • They need to get treated for... ummmm. What's it called now... Some condition where you can't remember things. It's like you can't remember what you just did. Wait remember what? What was I talking about? Oh that's right the editors need to go to a clinic for.... something... can't remember the name....

    Seriously. You'd think they'd try their own search or something :P
  • addictions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Susceptor ( 559115 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:59AM (#15500645) Journal
    can't we technically qualify anything as an addiction? I mean if you define an addiction as a habbit that leads to anti-social behavior, then anything from excessive porn watching to video-games to overeating can count as an addiction. Maybe we (as in everyone) have to realise that anything and everything we do in life can potentially be an addiction (ie something we do excessively to divert our attention from the problems in our lives) Just ask the workaholics who work 14 hours a day instead of playing quake 14 hours a day. BTW, I'm a "recovering" game addict as it were. I was in the top 10% of my law school class, then i picked up WOW, big mistake. I passed, but boy did my grades fall. That game litteraly came close to ruining me financially. I ditched it and deleted my char's. Bottom line with games like WOW is thins, if a friend calls you and asks you if you want to go out and you say no because you want to lvl your 55 lvl druid to 56 by grinding in an instance with you guild, then you have a problem.
    • can't we technically qualify anything as an addiction? I mean if you define an addiction as a habbit that leads to anti-social behavior, then anything from excessive porn watching to video-games to overeating can count as an addiction.

      Why don't we, and then just open some generic "addiction centers" where they'll help you get over anything?

      "Hi, I'm Josh, and I'm addicted to trolling Slashdot..."
    • Re:addictions (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aqua OS X ( 458522 )
      An addition takes place when you keep doing something despite known and persistent consequences.

      An if my undergrad psyc classes serve me correct, it is absolutely possible to become addicted to something that is not an ingested chemical of some sort. It's not like you experience a video game, sex, passively. You're brain released serotonin, dopamine, etc through experiencing things.

      That said, to become addicted to something like a game or sex you usually have some other problems in your life. You usually
      • An addition takes place when you keep doing something despite known and persistent consequences.

        Next thing you know they are multiplying their time spent on line, dividing their family and significantly subtracting from their overall quality of life.


        Sorry, I'll put the pun vehicle back in the garage were it belongs.
      • "An addition takes place when you keep doing something despite known and persistent consequences."

        My girlfriend warned me about that, but I hate using rubbers.
    • ... is probably an activity that a person carries out so often that it becomes
      detrimental to their physical and/or mental wellbeing and also they would find
      it very hard to stop the activity if they tried because of withdrawal symptoms.
      This could be drug taking, sexual addiction, extreme sports , lots of things really...
    • The difference is mental and physical addictions. You can be addicted to something because you like something about it and you can be addicted to something because the product has within it an addictive substance (such as nicotine or caffiene).

      This is the former rather then the latter, and I personally think we should stick with the latter.
      • As in, curing the latter. Creating addiction centres for the latter. I think people should be encouraged to become addicted to the former. My addiction of choice is ArmageddonMUD [armageddon.org] where you can REAL roleplaying, not like your local D&D group or MMO.
        • Actually the 'former' cause neuro-chemicals to be created in the brain and the brain literally becomes addicted to these substances changing your thoughts and tastes to match those things to which you are 'mentally' addicted. Most physical substances convert to these same neuro-chemicals.

          Within the brain there is ultimately no difference between a crack addict and a ArmageddonMUD addict, you personally are no longer in control (and probably think otherwise in either case) and the effect is negative either w
    • can't we technically qualify anything as an addiction?

      I read recently that the concept of addiction is not a well defined one. One persons addiction is anothers mild indulgence. Frequently addiction is only applied to socially undesireable or prohibited indulgences. For example, despite its frequent use to excess, users of alcohol are rarely described as "addicted", and are instead given a specific label of "alocoholic".

      The argument I read traced the origins of the concept of addiction back to the the Enlightenment. Essentially, the author argued that the concept of addiction was a direct successor to the concept of demonic possession. Where previously someone was regarded as being posessed as an explanation for their behaviour, now in the new, rational world, they were described as being "addicted" to a substance or behaviour.

      People often tell me I'm addicted to video games. These same people can spend up to six hours a night, three nights a week, consuming alcohol and other substances. Some smoke, some watch an hour of football seven days a week. Some buy dozens of specialist magazines, spend hours on hobbies, go to car shows. Most watch ten times the amount of television I do.

      There's always been a question of when an avid interest ends, and an addiction begins. In my expierience, nine times out of ten, it begins in the eye of the beholder.
      • I suppose one of the major factors would be the aspect of health detriment, in terms of self or dependants. Buying lots of magazines isn't an addiction unless it puts you in an unhealthy financial situation (say, you can't afford proper food). Spending hours on activity X could be considered addiction if your own health suffers (lack of nourishment) or that of your dependants (ignored, unhealthy children). Plenty of people watch 2-4h of TV a day... it's comparable to gaming, less interactive in fact, but no
      • Real addiction is the result of neuro-chemicals produced in the brain. There are habitual drinkers, and then there are true alcoholics. An alcoholic is not someone who is drunk all the time, an alcoholic is someone with a physical condition that causes the alcohol in their bloodstream to be converted into a heroin like substance in the brain. It is possible to have never touched alcohol and be an alcoholic. Marijuana has been tested time and again and is no more habit forming than table sugar.

        Anything can b
        • I started playing an MMORPG about a month ago in order to "medicate" the bad feelings of a recent breakup. It works wonders. Some people would consider my gaming habits to be addictive and dangerous. I say they can go screw themselves. I work my 8 hours a day, I pay my taxes, I still hang out with my friends. I just watch less tv and play more on the computer. And I have something fun to look forward to during the day, instead of feeling all mopey about the breakup. When the next semester starts I'll go to

          • "I started playing an MMORPG about a month ago in order to "medicate" the bad feelings of a recent breakup. It works wonders. Some people would consider my gaming habits to be addictive and dangerous. I say they can go screw themselves. I work my 8 hours a day, I pay my taxes, I still hang out with my friends."

            My wife plays because she has Fibromyalgia and it is an escape from chronic pain. She is no longer able to work but is only a few years shy of normal retirement age. She earned better than average inc
    • I think wow and other online/social games are quite different from other adictions, from what i've gathered from my friends and having played wow for a while myself, i think the addiction in wow is not only to the games, but to the community. You don't tell a friend you can't go out for playing, you tell him that you have other plans with other friends, maybe this friends live across half Europe and instead of having some beers and pick up some chicks it's something more on the axe some orcs and level up si
    • One of the better definitions of Addiction is not only some habitual, constant behavior that you have difficulty stopping, but that causes harm to you or those around you. Obviously in your situation your grades slipped tremendously. Drug addition is usually simple in that severe physical harm takes place to your body, but also one begins to let the drug control your actions, perhaps stealing money to get more of the drug, or not showing up to work because you have to go out to get a fix, or whatever.

      Non-
    • I remember, once upon a time, there used to be a distinction between physical addition and psychological dependence. Guess that's no longer operative, hey?
  • 1. Overclockers Anonymous 2. The Overcoming Soda Pop Foundation 3. The Surpassing Forum-Trolling Group 4. How to not hate the world is 86463 easy steps
    • by Anonymous Coward
      4. How to not hate the world is 86463 easy steps
      Step 1: Get laid.

      One million reasons to hate the world...
    • Man, #2 is not funny. I'm getting off Coke AGAIN (Yes, Coca-cola) and it's a real friggin pain. The first day or so without isn't too bad, but the 3rd and 4th day really f---in suck. Headaches, muscles pains, general feelings of blah.

      Last time, I had decided I could manage to have it for lunch when I went out and it'd all be okay. I was wrong. I was up to 4 cans a day again within weeks.

      So I'm off again. For almost a week now. -sigh-

      And no, this isn't meant to be funny. Soda really IS addictive. (W
      • I've never been a big soda drinker (my favorites are RC and Tab and NOBODY has those around anymore) but caffeine withdrawl is indeed a real thing. I was down to tea at restaurants before my 2nd kid was born a couple of months ago. He was in ICU for two weeks because he was born a month early and I was living off of 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night as a result. Now things have stabilized but I'm still consuming all the caffeine I was consuming as the result of the lack of sleep. I'm not looking forward t
  • funny (Score:4, Funny)

    by 7o9 ( 608315 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:15AM (#15500685)
    how about just linking to all funny comments from 3 days ago? i'm not addicted to dupes
  • Detox? Come on. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is just dumb, we should not look at games as addictive, but rather the environment that causes people to escape into the games, as it stands, taking games away from people is just asking for trouble, and takes away the only thing that provides them an ounce of enjoyment in an otherwise stressful existance.
    • I don't think they're looking at games as addictive, but at people being addicted.

      There's a fine line there, with the major implication being that not everyone becomes addicted to games.

      However, are you saying none get addicted to games, but it's simply the environment that cause them to sacrifice a social life and career on trying to get the next Druid to level 60? What environmental traits are you talking about in that case that leads to this behavior in some persons, and not others? Becoming isolated wit
    • There's a difference between relaxing with a game and being so consumed with it you get cramps and forget to drink and eat properly.

      Your argument could just as well be used to pretend alcoholism or drug abuse isn't and issue.

  • by HotBlackDessiato ( 842220 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:26AM (#15500711)
    ...pays taxes and creates jobs in key congressional ridings. It cannot therfore be producing anything synonymous with drug addiction.

    Ask big-pharma how this concept works:--)
  • by forgotten_my_nick ( 802929 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:34AM (#15500726)
    Stick them in a room with Daikatana.

  • Great... (Score:2, Funny)

    by od05 ( 915556 )
    Now they just need to open up one for slashdot addictions and I'll be all set...
  • That seems to be a relatively small market. Why not open a clinic for internet "addiction." MMORG playing could fall under that. To me, at least, it seems this is a much bigger market to tap and one more readily seen. Or maybe even just generic computer "addiction."

    If I wanted to make money selling quack medicine, that's what I would do. Not only would parents be sending me their kids who are doing crappy in school, but companies their low productivity workers (in some parts of Europe, where this clini
  • Pedantry alert (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tygerstripes ( 832644 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:02AM (#15500783)
    Missed the earlier article, so I'll post in the dupe.

    You can't "detox" from a non-chemical addiction. A detox clinic is somewhere you go to make it nigh-on impossible to obtain whatever chemical it is that your body is used to and, thus, craves.

    While clinics do also have programs and counsellors to help deal with the underlying cause of the addiction - eg emotional stress, habit or associative behaviour - these are to help prevent addicts from returning to their chemical addiction. These services are also available outside of a detox clinic.

    For a purely habitual addiction - whether it be sex, gaming, work or anything else without a direct chemical impact - you can only provide the counselling. Detoxing, making the object of your obsession unavailable, is just a way of providing a stop-gap for weak-willed people to break their habit while they're in counselling, and calling it a detox clinic is a way for those same people to legitimise their pathetic behaviour. I really don't have much sympathy, and I wouldn't expect any if I were in that situation.

    Don't talk to me about adrenaline highs or any of the self-induced psychosomatic hormonal impacts of addiction; that's just the physiological aspect of a neural, habit-forming process. It's a million miles from chemical addiction. They really can't be compared.

    • Re:Pedantry alert (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Psychotria ( 953670 )
      I agree with much of what you say. I think you don't understand the meaning of Detox though.

      A detox clinic is somewhere you go to make it nigh-on impossible to obtain whatever chemical

      Not true. The body becomes dependant on the drug (homeostasis etc), and therefore stopping taking the drug can be dangerous, as the body has become adapted to the constant supply of the drug. Not being able to obtain the drug in Detox is irrelevent. Benzodiazapemes probably _would_ be available in a detox for that drug.Th
    • Re:Pedantry alert (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ClamIAm ( 926466 )

      Damn man, it's really funny when a self-confessed pedantry post is completely wrong. If "detoxing" means making it impossible to obtain whatever you're addicted to, it's pretty damn logical to consider a place helping people get over a non-chemical addiction as a "detox" clinic.

      And non-chemical addictions can most definitely be as strong or stronger than chemical ones. Just because it is different, does not mean it is "a million miles" away.

    • For a purely habitual addiction - whether it be sex, gaming, work or anything else without a direct chemical impact - you can only provide the counselling.

      You think you can't become addicted to neurotransmitters? You do realise that people who become addicted to exercise are addicted to the endorphin high [ufl.edu], right?

      Just because you're not explicitly shovelling drugs into your system doesn't mean they're not in there.
    • Re:Pedantry alert (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stalyn ( 662 )
      All changes in behavior are equivalent to changes in brain chemistry. Therefore all addictions are chemical.

      However I think the chemical addiction you refer to is where a person is addicted to a foreign chemical substance. Yet the only difference between addiction to a foreign substance and a foreign stimuli is the external contributing factor which changes brain chemistry. The root of addiction lies in the change of brain chemistry.

      Heroin is addictive because of the change in brain chemistry that results f
    • What you are saying amounts to simple denial of the facts.

      Addiction to gaming, exercise, anorexia, work or other 'habitual' things cause the same things to happen in the brain as do nicotine, heroin, cocaine etc - as, indeed, you say yourself. The reason it is hard to get out of eg. heroin addiction is not because of the cold turkey, but because of the strong habit that is formed because of the things that happen in the brain as a result of the addiction. Addiction to games makes it feel terrible, fundament
    • Detoxing, making the object of your obsession unavailable, is just a way of providing a stop-gap for weak-willed people to break their habit while they're in counselling, and calling it a detox clinic is a way for those same people to legitimise their pathetic behaviour. I really don't have much sympathy, and I wouldn't expect any if I were in that situation.

      People have addictions for all kinds of reasons, but usually there is some kind of psychological problem behind the addiction. If you can't empathi

  • internet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:20AM (#15500809) Homepage Journal
    They should think about making one of these for internet addiction too. Think I'm joking? try going a week without going online, or even visiting slashdot for that matter. It has become integral to our lives, but to a point where people can spend all day surfing instead of getting sunlight or exercise. Not that I'm complaining, it suits me just fine.
    • Re:internet (Score:3, Interesting)

      Think I'm joking? try going a week without going online

      Put 90% of all households without tv for a week...

      It should prove quite interesting as people will have on average 3 hours extra time, when nearly everyone feels they have "no" time.

      I don't own a tv myself anymore, it's dead time. Sleeping is more efficient way to rest and living a life yourself is more forfilling then projecting yourself into an emulated life watching these "reality"-things then gazing into a lightbox.

      There are more things lik
    • Re:internet (Score:2, Interesting)

      by drspliff ( 652992 )
      I did that recently actually while in hospital, after about two weeks I was really starting to feel very very stressed.

      I don't think that it was actually the lack of internet use that was causing it though, at the same time I'd given up smoking (after about 5 years of smoking heavily), and was under the impression that 1) there was a computer somewhere with internet access in the hospital and 2) I'd be able to find an internet cafe.

      Neither worked out and I ended up being given the runaround by hospital work
      • Re:internet (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dlZ ( 798734 )
        Neither worked out and I ended up being given the runaround by hospital workers who either didn't speak English or all gave me conflicting answers. But to this day I haven't started smoking again (and I'm presuming my willpower is a bit stronger than others).

        In regards to smoking, that's great! I quit for a few years, but then I stupidly started back up (I won't try to justify why, either, because there is no good reason, really.) Quitting this second time is proving to be a lot harder than the first, t
  • instead ??!?? huh ?

    So playing billiards, cards, golf and so at every opportunity does not count as addiction, but gaming does ?

    Watching tv passively for 8 hours like an empty bag does not count as an addiction but playing games instead does ?

    Ooooooh. Well. Then we better take up gambling or drinking. Then at least, the term addiction will have a meaning for meaning's sake.
  • As a safe alternative for sober computer gamers, I recommend...

    FRAG!

    'Frag is a computer game without a computer. It's a "first-person shooter" on a tabletop. Move your fighter and frag your foes; draw cards for weapons, armor, and gadgets; move through the blood spatters to restore your own health! If you die, you respawn and come back shooting!'
    http://www.sjgames.com/frag/ [sjgames.com]
  • And who can forget the Record Industry's take on this back in the 80s (as depicted by SNL):

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=xAc_MQgFEds&search=atar i%20snl [youtube.com]

    "A QUARTER AT A TIME"
  • Leave 'em alone (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @06:58AM (#15501128)
    Seriously. Why is it anyone's business? You want to spend 18+ hours a day playing WoW? Ok. I don't understand, but then, few people understand some of my pastimes.

    What's the problem? That he becomes "anti-social", that he "has no life", that he "wastes his time senselessly"? If that's the concern, why do we still have TVs?

    If you're a "concerned parent" (read: worried that your neighbors might think you're a bad parent), you can't simply take away something and not replace it. It's like pulling the pacifyer out of your baby's mouth and wonder why the child's screaming while you walk away to return to doing whatever you prefer doing instead of spending time with your kids.

    I think it's the usual "I don't understand it and especially not why it's fun to do it for a lenghty period of time, I can't enjoy it for a longer period of time, so the conclusion is it must be an addiction and they don't really WANT to do it" bullshit.

    If you want your kids to turn away from computer games, give them a reason. Don't only pull the plug, or you could be REALLY dealing with addiction problems soon when they're looking for substitutes.
    • Thats right. You see, video games are for LOSERS. While you are being a loser and "grinding" with your fake friends, everyone else is out doing PROPER things. Like painting their faces red-and-white and watching FOOTBALL and drinking BEER. Don't let your kids become sad geeks and use computers all day long - get them outside, theres plenty to steal and lots of swear-words they need to learn. These things will become very useful to them later in life; for example, when they are watching football.

      (sigh)
    • Re:Leave 'em alone (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deacon ( 40533 )
      Indeed. But culture in general is going the other way, unfortunately. As C. S. Lewis said:

      "Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

      Now that the "War on

    • Playing lots of video games is not a problem. It's just a way to amuse yourself like any other, and actually more healthy than many (like going to a bar). Nothing wrong with it. The problem with it is the same problem with anything: If you do it to the point the rest of your life suffers. I'm not talking about being anti-social, I'm talking about actually losing things that are important to you. Like you play WoW so much that you start missing work so you can play more and get fired. Or you neglect your res
    • Sorry, but for some people it is a very bad problem. One of my college roommates lost his job, got kicked out of college and was breaking in to a college lab just to feed his 18 hour a day MUD addiction. He made our pittance $79/month rent (in an awful neighborhood, subsidized and near a soup kitchen) by buying and selling drugs (I think) and ate mostly ramen, which we'd managed to find at 5 cents a bag at a nearby grocer and bought them all (2 carts full).

      That roommate was later diagnosed with ADHD and w
  • A dude I work with (who shall remain nameless) who told me yesterd that he spends 72 hours per week in World of Warcraft.

    72 hours . I shit you not.

    That's hard core. But, is it addiction or a hobby? Does he like reality? Apparently, he'd rather spend his free time trinkin' and spellin' than with his wife or anyone or doing anything else. I thought "Ever-crack" was bad. Maybe there's a lesson to be learned by TNG Episode 106: The Game [wikipedia.org].

    I finished Call of Duty 2 in less than a week--my wife says that I have
  • These ever expanding new "addictions" are ridiculous. Its a jobs program for third rate psychologists and treatment centers. Here is an excellent book on the subject which says it all: "The Diseasing of America" by Stanton Peele.

    I personally stay away from the "self help" sections of book stores. Who knows what new "disease" I might find that I have, lol.

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