video games can be as addictive as other drugs, prof
February 20, 2009 | Reports from around
the world suggest that [video] gaming addiction is real
and on the rise, stated an article
by Harris Interactive.
"The definition of addiction
is not just you do it a lot, it's that it's a problem
for you," says USU psychology professor Amy Odum, who
specializes in behavior analysis in respects to drug
Many experts say video game addiction
has some similar traits as drug addiction.
Odum listed a number of addiction
traits: Having a strong desire or compulsion to do it,
difficulty controlling it, neglecting alternative pleasures
or interests and persistence despite harmful consequences.
Freshman Tycen Sigler and sophomore
Phil Blad both have been playing video games since they
can remember and acknowledged being addicted to them.
"I think the point where I
realized I was addicted was when I started playing games
by myself instead of going out and socializing with
people," said Blad, who is majoring in journalism. "And
when I would make up lies as to what I was doing when
I was really staying home and playing video games."
Some lies Blad has told people in the past are that
he has homework to do, or he has plans with his family.
Sigler, majoring in social work,
said he has also lied to people about being too busy
to hang out.
"When it comes down to it and
I have to choose, I usually pick video games over anything
else," he said. Sigler said while he wasn't actually
sick he has called in sick at work just to be able to
stay home and play video games.
Addiction can disrupt a person's
relationship with family or friends and can interfere
with a person's job, Odum said.
When he was younger, Sigler said,
he use to come home from school and play video games
all day. But since growing older, priorites in life
such as work and school have caused his playing hours
to decline to about two to three hours a day. However,
he said at least once a week, typically during the weekend,
he plays all day, sometimes even playing until dawn.
Substance addicts will sometimes
do drugs or drink alcohol to escape life problems. Video
game addicts are not too different.
"It's a good way to forget
about problems or what's going on," Sigler said. "Instead
of getting drunk and forgetting about life, I just play
Odum said all illegal drugs increase
levels. According to an article by Media Awareness
Network, studies have shown when playing video games
there is a chance dopamine in the brain is released.
"A drug can't make your body
do anything it can't already do," Odum said. "Some drugs
just make your body release the neurotransmitters
it already has just in different proportions than
Both Sigler and Blad said though
they probably will never stop playing video games, they
are prioritizing their life by sacrificing gaming time
to do other things.
For those having trouble resisting
the urge to play video games there is a Web site called
On-line Gamers Anonymous
that will aide resisting the urge. Amsterdam, Netherlands,
treatment center to detox video game addicts by
going cold turkey.
Here is a
video clip from MSNBC interviewing co-host of X-Play,
Morgan Webb, about video game addiction.