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Therapists Log On To WoW To Counsel Addicts 187

eldavojohn writes "So, you can't find the time to leave the World of Warcraft to seek help for your World of Warcraft addiction? Sounds reasonable. Well, addiction therapists are coming to meet you so you don't have to quit playing as they counsel you and your addiction. From the leader of this initiative, Dr. Graham: 'We will be launching this project by the end of the year. I think it's already clear that psychiatrists will have to stay within the parameters of the game. They certainly wouldn't be wandering around the game in white coats and would have to use the same characters available to other players. Of course one problem we're going to have to overcome is that while a psychiatrist may excel in what they do in the real world, they're probably not going to be very good at playing World of Warcraft.' Send in the level 5 counselor and let the games begin!" What happens when the therapists become addicted?
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Therapists Log On To WoW To Counsel Addicts

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  • by carbonautomoton ( 972777 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:20AM (#28865157)
    I have to say that any addiction counselor with even a modicum of knowledge in their chosen field would know going into this that it's bollocks.

    The fact is that you don't approach people who have a problem while they are in active addiction. Doing this is the equivalent of going to a bar to have a chat with an alcoholic. Beyond even that, no amount of pestering someone with an addiction is going to make them quit or even HELP them to quit. They simply have to come to the point that they personally are ready to take action and then you just have to make sure that the information on where they can go to get help is widely disseminated in order to ease that transition for them.

    One thing that I'm not totally clear on here: Are these counselors responding to actual requests for aid or are they just hanging out and yelling to everyone that they're selling their wares? "I'll give you 10k to talk to me about your addiction...or at least be in my raid."

    If they're just hanging out unsolicited and looking for people who want to talk about their problem...well it's good for them to BE there if someone wants to talk about it, sort of the way that you can pick up the phone and call an AA central office in your area when you feel that you may need help with THAT addiction, but I still don't feel that this is the best use of their time.

    Maybe it would have been better for them to pressure Blizzard into including some kind of service for this. Where if someone feels that they need help with their addiction they can link to it through the Blizzard website or maybe even contact a counselor in-game. A bunch of counselors walking around unsolicited asking people if they'd like to talk about addiction though? That's a little too much like the Jehovah Witnesses for my tastes.
  • by beowulfcluster ( 603942 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:22AM (#28865177)
    Did you never hear Everquest being referred to as 'Evercrack'?

    Well I guess not if you never heard about mmo addiction before WoW. It certainly happened though.
  • by ChaoticCoyote ( 195677 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:41AM (#28865469) Homepage

    "Quit trying to save me! You're killing me!"

    Such was the comment from my 18yo daughter, directed at the psychiatrist in the original article. And she hasn't played WoW in 6 months!

    Daughter like father -- I, too, am sick and damned tied of people telling me what I can do with my own body and life.

    Until a hundred years ago, a person could simply pick up and go somewhere to get away from meddlesome, prying, and officious egotists who assume they have the only "right" answers. You could go to the "frontier", and be free of such stupidity and arrogance. But now the frontier is gone, there is nowhere to escape, and society is eating itself to death as more "do-gooders" try to "save" us.


  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:56AM (#28865657) Journal

    Talk of addiction to MMOs long-predates WoW. Another reply to your comment has already made the "Evercrack" point.

    My own beliefs on the issue are a bit of a middle ground. I believe MMO addiction does exist, but I do think it's far rarer than is genuinely supposed. The problem is that a lot of people who've never really been into computers have always had trouble distinguishing between gaming as a hobby and an addiction to gaming.

    I'm a fairly heavy gaming hobbyist. Always have been, ever since the mid 1980s. In recent years, I've played two MMOs, Final Fantasy XI and WoW, and played them quite extensively, but I don't think I've ever been addicted. With FFXI, I played it fairly heavily for about two and a half years, then my interest in it just started to wane. At the most extreme peak, I was logging into the game five, sometimes six days a weel. Then suddenly, I couldn't really be bothered before. I dropped to playing twice a week, then once a week, then just logging in every couple of weeks. My account's not been touched now for over a year.

    With World of Warcraft, I started playing it a couple of months after I stopped playing FFXI. I started off fairly casually - maybe one night during the week and a few hours on a Saturday. Then I dinged 80, started raiding and ended up back to a 5 or 6 days per week play cycle. Then my enthusiasm waned somewhat. Unlike with FFXI, I haven't stopped playing. As a matter of fact, I raid with a fairly decent raiding guild (Ulduar 25, including a couple of hard modes, on farm, for those who know what that means). So I log in to raid 3 nights a week and spend a bit of time on a Saturday morning making the gold I'll need to fund my raiding. The rest of the week, I do other stuff, both on and off the computer, during my leisure time. I've been playing fairly stably at this level for around 12 months now. Sure, there was a brief spike in my play-time when Wrath of the Lich King hit, but that was over after about 3 weeks.

    The real reason I know I'm not addicted is that every year, I spend a couple of weeks away from home. I don't see my parents very often (they live at the other end of the country), but to make up with this, I go on holiday with them every year. And while I'm away, I have no WoW and only fairly limited net access. And it doesn't bother me.

    However, there are cases I've seen at first hand of people who've become hopelessly addicted. When I was a student, a friend of mine failed his second year exams and crashed and burned out because of an addiction to Planetarion (basically multiplayer Excel). There's also a guy in my WoW guild who is logged in 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, but he's the exception rather than the rule.

    I think as a general rule, if you have a personality that tends towards addiction, and no over-riding factors in your life (such as a job, or a family to support) that constrain the time you can spend in game, MMO addiction is probably something you'd want to be aware of. For everybody else, however, the risk is very slight.

  • Fantasy Worlds (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mqduck ( 232646 ) <mqduck@ m q d u c k . n et> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @10:41AM (#28866279)

    My Abnormal Psych teacher tells a story about a man she used give therapy to. He had invented his own elaborate sci-fi fantasy world that he spent most of his time pretending to live in. He couldn't open up to her, since she wasn't part of that world. What finally had to happen is that she had him give her a rank in his fantasy's galactic empire or whatever.

    The point she was making was that, if you want someone to open up to you, you can't question their reality.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:10AM (#28866737)

    Every time addiction is brought up, there is the "what is addiction???" comment(s). And it's always the same stuff, rehashed. You have contributed nothing new. Just stop trying.

The other line moves faster.