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Addicted to Fantasy

by | Addiction, Latest News, Recovery, Treatment

Home Addiction Addicted to Fantasy

The first glimpse I had of my dad’s addictive behavior was when he got hooked on my very first Playstation game. Spyro was a 3-D adventure game that puts the gamer in control of a dragon seeking to restore his species from the evil tyrant, Gnasty Gnorb. Being 10 years old, I was drawn to the fantasy and excitement of the somewhat simple game. However, there would be times when I would arrive home from school only to see my dad beating a new level of the game. Although we were a Gnasty Gnorb defeating team, I became upset when he would play the game without me.
10 years later, I have knowledge of my dad’s drug addiction. Being a drug addict myself, I can see he wasn’t trying to take the Playstation game away from his child, he just couldn’t stop!
The American Medical Association has made it clear that there are physical, behavioral, and psychosocial risks associated with intense game use. New research shows that gamers display serious signs of addiction. In a 2009 study by Iowa State University, Professor Douglas Gentile found that 8.5% of 8-18 year olds who play video games have signs of six or more pathological behaviors exhibited by pathological gamblers. Douglas also found that friends, family, school, and work relationships suffer from compulsive gaming habits.
Sarah Greenwell, a pediatric psychologist at the Children’s Medical Center of Dayton, consults with parents about how their children’s gaming habits affect their socialization. She believes parents should restrict their children’s gaming by rewarding them with limited game time after they have completed chores or school work. Greenwell believes video games have such a high appeal because they are about competition. Kids can win money, power, and rewards inside their gaming world.
Children and youth do not make up the entire gaming community in the US. The average video game player is 35. More than half of adults 18 and older play video games. 20% of them admit to gaming every day. Although many adults can stop playing games when they chose, some are in need of treatment and counseling to overcome their compulsion.
Gentile states that, “The state where we are with video game addiction is where we were with alcoholism 40 years ago.” Our culture used to deem alcoholism as a moral issue, thinking that people weren’t strong enough to stop. Now we are knowledgeable about the physical and mental addiction of alcohol.
Liz Woolley, mother of Shawn Wolley started an On-Line Gamers Anonymous after her son, who was addicted to the game, Everquest, and killed himself in 2001. Wolley says, “He had already left real life, and so after the game let him down, I don’t think we knew where else to go.”
Are you a Compulsive Video Gamer?
• Do you have trouble controlling how long you play video games?
• Do you get a certain sense of euphoria from playing?
• Do you crave more and more playing time?
• Do you feel depressed when you’re not playing?
• Are you neglecting your friends and family because of your gaming habits?
• Is your school work or job performance suffering?
• Are you playing about your playing habits?
• Are you constantly talking about the game?
• Does your gaming make you feel guilt or anxiety?