Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gaming Addictions

I'm a firm believer that playing video games can become addictive. I, myself, have gotten addicted by several computer games (Mahjongg, anyone?). So, I'm not immune, but I've never been into video games. I never had an Atari game system, although I played it from time to time at friends' houses growing up. We have a Nintendo and a Playstation, but I've just never had the desire to play any of the games, and whenever I do sit down and attempt to play something, I'm really bad at it.

Now, there's this game out there called World of Warcraft. WOW is what it's called in the gaming community. In my opinion, it's a violent game. I don't like violent games. Until my husband started playing it a couple of years ago, I had never even heard of it. However, there's apparently a whole bunch of folks who play this game and play it often. Since being introduced to WOW, I've heard stories of parents neglecting their children to play the game, of people getting divorced over this game, etc. Terrible stuff! When I hear such horror stories of how playing this game (and other, too, but I am only familiar with WOW) can become so life-and-time consuming, I consider this to be an addiction. I've asked my husband his thoughts of the addictive quality of WOW--since he's plays it--and he agrees that it is very addictive. I've seen my husband become addicted. (lucky for him he married a therapist, so I keep him straight.) :)

I don't think people hold the opinion that gaming is addictive, at least not in the same way that drugs or alcohol are addictive. So my question is this: is there real help for people addicted to video/computer games? Although I think any trained therapist could handle treating this addiction--after all, it is addiction plain and simple--I think there should be some kind of specialized treatment for these folks. Should gaming addiction be included in the DSM? I think one day it will be. Hmm...what could it be called?? I know!!! TID--Technology Infatuation Disorder. No, not quite.. CAD--Computer Addiction Disorder. Closer. I'll have to think about it. Any ideas?

1 comment:

Steph said...

Speaking as the wife of a self-avowed XBox junkie, I completely agree with you that video games can become addictive. However, I think perhaps one facet of WOW (and other cooperative video games) you're missing is the social connections it provides for the players. In my opinion, that makes the addiction stronger because it's not just the game itself that is addictive--- but also the gaming relationships that develop for the players. One of the things my hubby raves about regarding the XBox is the ability to meet new people and hook up with his friends far away--- and play games until the wee hours of the morning. When his XBox crashed and burned and had to be sent away to the Healing Powers of Microsoft for 3 weeks, he actually searched and found another cooperative game he could load and play on his laptop to "tide him over" until the XBox returned. That tells me it's not necessarily the games themselves that are addictive so much as the other players he engages with in cooperative play. The social aspect is the greater pull than the game, per se.