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Medicine Games

Interview With the Founder of a Video Game Rehab Clinic 59

Ten Ton Hammer has posted the transcript from an interview with Dr. Hilarie Cash, co-founder of the "reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program," a relatively new clinic that deals with adults who feel that they are addicted to video games. The interview contains some.. interesting nuggets of wisdom. If you want to avoid addiction, you'd better spend less than two hours per day on online entertainment! The good news is that she doesn't recommend beating people. "When people come, they come for 45 days. It is only for adults; patients must be 18 or older. When they first come, they come for a minimum 2 days to be interviewed and to interview us, because we don't want anyone there who doesn't want to be there. So if they decide they want to be there then they stay for 45 days or longer if they choose. During that time they don't have access to the internet. The idea is that it takes at least 30 days for the brain to make some adjustments it needs to make to get over this addiction, so the brain can begin to rewire back to normal. During that time we are helping them look at why they got addicted, what motivated their addiction and we're assessing to see what skills they are lacking so they can be successful in their adult lives. We try to make a good start at helping to build those skills."
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Interview With the Founder of a Video Game Rehab Clinic

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  • Re:Flawed theory? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jedi Alec ( 258881 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @07:09AM (#30902170)

    Does a smoking addiction sprouts from "lack of skills needed for success in adult lives" as well? How about achool addiction? What sort of skills might a person be "lacking" to "fall" into a smoking habit?

    The same skill as with any addiction. Self-control. Except with smoking 1 cigaratte is already too much, and in the case of alcohol or gaming the limit isn't quite as low. (yes, i realize that for someone who is already an alcoholic 1 drink is 1 too many).

    I don't see anything implying that gaming is only for kids, just that doing it excessively is harmful. And since adults typically don't live with parents that revoke their computer rights anymore, they turn elsewhere for help.

  • by Motorelius ( 1705098 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @10:43AM (#30904108)
    A few years ago, I started playing eve-online, well I must admit that I was instantly hooked-up. I spent the next 3 years playing this game hardcore, and became very good at it. Eventually, I managed to become quite wealthy and amassed a ton of very expensive items and ships. I was very successfull in this game... That was until I lost everything, when my freighter was blown up by other players. In a heartbeat,I lost everything I had, everything I spent time for. I realised that it took only a second to destroy three entire years of efforts. I finally "woke up", cancelled all of my 4 (!!!) accounts and never touched it again. Peoples need to understand that "virtual worlds" are just that - it doesnt exist - the only real thing is the time and commitment one can spend on theses games.
  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @02:55PM (#30908066) Journal

    Welcome back to Meatspace.

    A quick recap: you have to grind a helluva lot harder to have any chance of becoming successful (3 years? Pfft, Meatspace needs at least 30), most diligent (and lucky) players amass only a little more "money" than they need to keep them grinding, you can still lose everything in a second, and you only have one account. Physical corporate warfare is only allowed on the PK server ("Somalia"). There are good reasons for this, which you will soon be re-familiarized with. Some of your character's stats will start to DECREASE at certain points in the game, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

    The graphics and physics are lightyears ahead but the gameplay sucks ass. Are you sure you don't want to go back to EVE Online?

  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @07:22PM (#30911518) Journal

    I have vociferously posted against the use of the word "addiction" for psychological dependency on non-addictive substances (e.g. sex, games, gambling).

    However, the treatment is going to be similar, with a few notable changes.

    1) Withdrawal won't happen with games, because there's no physical dependency. In fact, this is a big part of what differentiates true addiction from "addiction" to games, etc.
    2) After withdrawal, a drug addict will normally go through counselling and the like, to avoid falling back to the drug. The physical breaking free, though, is a huge part. Now with game "addiction", the lack of a physical dependency (and alternatively, lack of withdrawal) means that counselling is all there is to keep the person from going back to the game.

    I know someone currently going through alcohol addiction detox and recovery, and it's a six-week program laid out quite a bit like this. Alcohol detox/withdrawal is a weird one because it is usually very short and mild, although the residual effects linger for ages. Anyways, after withdrawal is dealt with, 6-12 weeks seems pretty standard to get a person back together enough for them to move forward, regardless of what they're dealing with.

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann