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The Media Medicine Entertainment Games

90% of Gaming Addiction Patients Not Addicted 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-worry-i'm-sure-you're-in-the-other-10% dept.
phorm writes "BBC is carrying an article which states that 90% of visitors to Europe's 'video game addiction clinic' are not, in fact, addicted. The problem is a social one rather than a psychological issue. In other words, the patients have turned to heavy gaming because they felt they didn't fit in elsewhere, or that they fit in better 'in the game' than elsewhere in 'the real world.' This has been discussed before, with arguments ranging from gaming being a good way to socialize, the clinical definition of gaming addiction, and claims than males are wired for video-game addiction."
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90% of Gaming Addiction Patients Not Addicted

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  • uh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @09:17PM (#25894417)

    The problem is a social one rather than a psychological issue. In other words, the patients have turned to heavy gaming because they felt they didn't fit in elsewhere

    So, is this saying that they are not addicted or that they are addicted because of social issues?

  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @09:25PM (#25894463) Journal

    One reason...It use to be that these people could join a club and usually a "geeky" one: A Chess club, a remote control aircraft club, a rocketry club, a science club, an electronics club. These kinds of organisations are disappearing and the activities are being labelled as dangerous or complete social death to get involved in, leaving a void which is being filled with idle gaming.

  • Re:Males? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RuBLed (995686) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @10:13PM (#25894847)
    I'd try to be serious here. XD (because this could work)

    Quest - Reward system. People (and males) do tend to work their ass off if it rewards them in the end. That is why any start of a relationship is the most "activity-filled" moments. But as time goes by, doing monotonous things for almost nothing doesn't interest as much.

    That is where the Reward system kicks in. If one wants to do something, the other one must also benefit or be rewarded in one way or another (which he/she likes). It could be in a form of a gift, homemade cookies, preparing food, etc (no matter how small in quality and quantity it is). It would gives us at least a sense of accomplishment or reward and would not view the activity as a charity work. XD

    just my 0.02
  • by Silentknyght (1042778) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @10:19PM (#25894873)
    I played World of Warcraft (heavily, until I got married). I played Diablo (I & II, pretty heavily). I played Counter Strike for hours on end, very competitively. Two-three years ago, I would classify myself as a hardcore gamer. That said... I cannot deny the striking similarities between these games and slot machines. The addiction similarities between these games and gambling addition, particularly slot machines, is strong.

    Some (admittedly anecdotal) evidence. Don't tell me you never did these things, too:
    * "farmed" mobs/bosses/instances/etc in WoW for a random, rare drop.
    * loaded and reloaded the barbarian highlands level in diablo II umpteen times to farm for random, rare, drops
    * got feelings of joy at the sight of one color triggered at a particular point in the game

    All these things seem like more "pulls" on the slot machine, waiting for the lights and sounds to let you know you won. Is there potential for gambiling-addition-like issues in videogames? Yes. Am I terribly concerned and am I going to stop gaming? No.

  • Alcohol (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dohzer (867770) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @10:28PM (#25894941) Homepage
    I don't have an alcohol addiction, I just feel like I fit in better when I'm drunk. So that means I'm not addicted, right?
  • by bronney (638318) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @10:52PM (#25895141) Homepage

    I don't know how many gamers out there share the same feeling as me, but I don't game to get away from the real world, or that I am addicted, or for other stupid reasons.

    It's sad to game! I game because it's the cheapest form of entertainment. From the days of the QEMM, a fixed money you spent on a box will last you god know how many hours.

    I have a decent job now, and I still game a lot. Not because I am addicted. If I can spend a weekend on a boat, or in the garage tuning my Skyline GTR, or even just a Golf GL, I would. But I can't, so I game.

    If I feel the urge to earn myself that Golf GL, I would. But I don't, so I game.

    Go to school.

  • Re:Males? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @10:58PM (#25895175)

    his may be a silly question, but -- she may have spent three hours bitching to you about it, but has she spent that much time talking to him about it?

    Dammit, this wasn't supposed to be about my friend, but whether games can help boys develop social skills--instead of providing an escape from socially awkward situations. And yes, she has.

    Casually saying something like, "Oh, I wish you'd spend less time playing WoW" doesn't count -- his internal reaction will be "Ok, I'll log off fifteen minutes early today," then he'll shrug and move on.

    girlspeak translation: Get off the damn computer and pay attention to me when I'm around. It's damn rude to have someone over and then leave them to entertain themselves so you can go play a video game. Homework or a few minutes of e-mail, not a big deal... Wasting four hours on a video game because you need to "relax"... It gives a clear message: I'm not wanted. And when it's my boyfriend doing that, then it's elevate to not only aren't I wanted, but that I'm less attractive than a hunk of circuits and plastic. So yeah, most girls are going to be rightly pissed about that!

    If he accepts that it's a problem, he can fix it, but otherwise his girlfriend will either have to just accept it or leave him.

    And yet they wonder why we call it an addiction...

  • Re:Males? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yosho (135835) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @11:46PM (#25895511) Homepage

    girlspeak translation: Get off the damn computer and pay attention to me when I'm around. It's damn rude to have someone over and then leave them to entertain themselves so you can go play a video game. Homework or a few minutes of e-mail, not a big deal... Wasting four hours on a video game because you need to "relax"... It gives a clear message: I'm not wanted. And when it's my boyfriend doing that, then it's elevate to not only aren't I wanted, but that I'm less attractive than a hunk of circuits and plastic. So yeah, most girls are going to be rightly pissed about that!

    Sorry, I didn't mean to sound as though I was defending the guy -- just trying to provide some insight as to why he (and many other guys) behave that way. Most guys simply do not understand "girlspeak," and, unless you've found one of the rare ones who does, expecting him to figure it out is just an exercise in frustration.

    And yet they wonder why we call it an addiction...

    Oh, I certainly don't wonder. I'm sure Blizzard has hired psychologists to figure out the optimal effort:reward ratio to keep people playing as long as possible. MMORPGs are designed to be addictive by people who understand in great detail how addictions work; that's why telling somebody to stop playing is about as effective as telling an alcoholic to stop drinking.

  • by Praxx (918463) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @12:09AM (#25895643)

    Ninety per cent of the young people who seek treatment for compulsive sports watching are not addicted.

    So says Keith Bakker the founder and head of Europe's first and only clinic to treat sports watching addicts.

    The Smith & Jones Centre in Amsterdam has treated hundreds of young sports fans since the clinic opened in 2006.

    But the clinic is changing its treatment as it realises that compulsive sports watching is a social rather than a psychological problem.

    Using traditional abstinence-based treatment models the clinic has had very high success rates treating people who also show other addictive behaviours such as drug taking and excessive drinking.

    But Mr Bakker believes that this kind of cross-addiction affects only 10% of sports fans. For the other 90% who may spend four hours a day or more watching games such as football, he no longer thinks addiction counselling is the way to treat these people.

    "These kids come in showing some kind of symptoms that are similar to other addictions and chemical dependencies," he says.

    "But the more we work with these kids the less I believe we can call this addiction. What many of these kids need is their parents and their school teachers - this is a social problem."

    In response to this realisation the clinic has changed its treatment programme for sports fans to focus more on developing activity-based social and communications skills to help them rejoin society.

    Social ties

    "This sports watching problem is a result of the society we live in today," Mr Bakker told BBC News. "Eighty per cent of the young people we see have been bullied at school and feel isolated. Many of the symptoms they have can be solved by going back to good old fashioned communication."

    By offering compulsive sports fans a place where they feel accepted and where their voice will be heard, the clinic has found that the vast majority have been able to leave sports watching behind and rebuild their lives.

    For Mr Bakker the root cause of the huge growth in excessive sports watching lies with parents who have failed in their duty of care.

    But he is quick to point out that 87% of online sports fans are over the age of 18 - and once they cross that line, help is something they need to seek for themselves because parents no longer have the legal right to intervene.

    For younger sports fans, intervention may be the only way to break the cycle. That means stepping in and sometimes literally taking a child away from a computer, removing them from the game for a period of time until they become aware of their habits and begin to see there are other choices.

    "It's a choice," he says. "These kids know exactly what they are doing and they just don't want to change. If no one is there to help them, then nothing will ever happen."

    Alone together

    George [not his real name] is an 18-year-old sports fan being treated at the clinic in Amsterdam. He was spending at least 10 hours a day watching NFL until he sought help at the centre.

    "NFL games were somewhere I felt accepted for the first time in my life," he says. "I was never helped by my parents or my school. At the clinic I also feel accepted and have come out of myself."

    George kept his sports watching problem a secret as much as he could but when he did tell people, he says that no-one offered him help.

    "I liked sports watching because people couldn't see me, they accepted me as my online character - I could be good at something and feel part of a group."

    Underlying that new sense of belonging was a young man who felt powerless and neglected in real life.

    "I was aware that I played too much but I didn't know what to do. But it helped me because I could be aggressive and get my anger and frustration out online," he says.

    This kind of aggression is not uncommon in young sports fans who feel frustrated with their real lives. Besides addiction, aggression and violence fo

  • Golf is worse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @01:56AM (#25896277) Homepage

    If you want to see addiction, visit a golf course.

    It's a real problem. Successful executives have been lost to golf addiction [thesandtrap.com]. Forbes Magazine once commented that more executives have been lost to golf than alcohol. There are people who skip work to play golf. It's not a joke. [badgolfer.com]

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @02:35AM (#25896509) Journal

    Also, the "higher power" thing dosen't work for atheists.

    Sure it does, but then they have to stop calling themselves atheists. Its like saying fire doesn't work for gasoline, just because if it works there isn't any gasoline left.

  • Re:uh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ukyoCE (106879) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @02:41PM (#25901797) Journal

    Nice rant :) Totally agree.

    Even gamers will try to shame gamers by claiming "no life!" and such. A guy in WOW Trade chat the other day was mocking the people who picked up the expansion on launch day and leveled up with their friends. I asked what he did that was so superior, and he said he went drinking with some friends at a football game.

    Is sitting around in-person with friends objectively better than playing with them online? Does adding voice chat make the game more competitive with "reality"? How about avatars? Is IRC worse than a voice-chatting video game?

    It's gonna take a while (possibly replacement by the next generation) to get "I'm playing WOW with my guildies" to be heard as the same level of commitment as "I'm playing poker with my buddies"

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