Game addiction

Gaming is my favorite pastime, but that is all it is, a pastime activity. A hobby that is not interfering with my responsibilities to my relationship and career.

Gaming made it’s big appearance as a commercial entertainment medium 1971. We now put our coins into arcade machines instead of that oh so popular jukebox.

The creation of Spacewar (which is credited as the first widely available and influential game (1962) opened the gates to a digital world.

Each generation after that has been hooked into gaming more or less. Also becoming a social accepted pastime, it is now one of the biggest entertainment mediums this little rock on the 3’d row has to offer.

Someone once said “With great power comes great responsibility”. Responsibility to look out for our fellow man and make sure his life is on the up and up. As gaming industries make billions of dollars of the consumers, there is one small group that pay a higher price. I am talking about the gaming addict.

A person entirely cut away from the outside world, that doesn’t have time for a relationships, neglects his job and his family. The more the gaming culture gets accepted, just like any other pastime activity, there will be downfalls. I’ve gone through a few video game addicts site and I now realize that it’s a genuine issue. Some people just can’t stop playing. In this specific gaming addict forum I find fathers pleading for help to handle their sons, mothers to handle their daughters and friends that fear that their friend has lost grip on reality.

I remember a while back, there there was a boy in japan that starved to death. He was so focused on playing his game for weeks that he ended up starving himself. I also remember a TV documentary about this young man spending all his money and all his time playing MMORPG. You could see the pain in the eyes of his family, trying to help him do other things. It went so much out of hand that the man lost his job and had to move back in with his mother. He enrolled into gamer addicts meeting, straighten himself up and got a job. Next scene you could see the joy in his mothers eyes, she rejoices that her son is back and that he hasn’t played games for weeks. Time comes around for the son to move to his own apartment. A week after him kissing his mother goodbye, he goes back to his old gaming habits, again he looses his job and touch with reality. Sadly this time he couldn’t escape his addiction, he killed himself shortly after he lost his job. As a shattered family searches for answers, they find out that he was playing a lot with a young lady online, they were online boyfriend and girlfriend. It turned out she was only flirting around and she found someone else.

It’s a sad story, but it teaches us that some people in online gaming and offline cannot see the difference between reality and fantasy. I like to escape into my own world once in a while, but I do force myself to deal with the harsh reality at times.
Video game addicts deal with a lot of changes.
The behavioral and social persona changes, and in some cases, the neurological.

[I]”A recent study utilized positron emission tomography in order to show that levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine increased while playing video games. Dopamine is believed to mediate several behaviors, one of which is the experience of pleasure. For example, dopamine levels increase in emaciated rats when the rats are presented with food, and similar effects are found when water deprived rats are presented with water. Despite the positive effects of dopamine, high levels of the neurotransmitter have also been associated with addictions to drugs and substances. Because increased levels of dopamine have been found in people who are playing video games and because these effects are similar to the increased levels of dopamine in drug addicts, some researchers have hypothesized that higher levels of dopamine can produce a dangerous cycle leading to addiction of video games” – Mary Schlimme[/I]

I’ve read a few papers on this issue, mostly by people with a Ph.D in psychology. They fear that this problem is not being taken seriously. As the Internet expands, the more we are to see of this issue.

[I]”Addictions” – defined very loosely – can be healthy, unhealthy, or a mixture of both. If you are fascinated by a hobby, feel devoted to it, would like to spend as much time as possible pursuing it – this could be an outlet for learning, creativity, and self-expression. Even in some unhealthy addictions you can find these positive features embedded within (and thus maintaining) the problem. But in truly pathological addictions, the scale has tipped. The bad outweighs the good, resulting in serious disturbances in one’s ability to function in the “real” world. ” – John Suler, Ph.D

I love playing digital games, it is my pastime. I had a friend once that you could basically say he was a videogame addict. He is still around, but spending time with him as I faced the responsibilities of life and living, he didn’t have any motivations to do anything. He still lives at home with his mother playing videogames all day long, no job, no companionship and on anti-depressives. I’d figure that his mother would take those games a way but that is just my opinion.

Gaming  and the online world is growing, it has a great power over us by awaking so many emotions.
Remember , with great power comes great responsibility. We need to take responsibility to help our fellow gamer next door. If we see a friend of ours showing off the signs that could make him/her and addict (or he/she already is), try to convince them to get help.

If you feel that you need to come out and talk to someone about your addiction, hit me up. I’ll help you to do research for qualified help in your area. If you feel like telling someone about a friend, or even yourself, that went through gaming addiction, please feel free to post on this thread. I want to hear your experience so I can better understand what you are going through.

I now leave you with posts and words of distress that I found on a forum that talks about cyber/gaming addictions:

worried girlfriend
Name: Rhiana
Date: 08/01/2007 15:19

I really think my boyfriend is addicted to video games. First of all, he has lost at least three jobs in the past 7 months because he stays up until 7am playing games and sleeps during the day. He is supposed to be looking for a job right now but sleeps all day long so he never even has a chance to even think about it. I’m worried because he’s in his own apartment and has no money. I cant afford to pay for his food and all the other things he needs anymore. And where is he going to go when he gets kicked out. It’s bad. He’ll tell me he’s tired and has to take me home at midnight so he can go to sleep, then stays up all night playing games. He’s been lying about looking for jobs. He plays final fantasy at night then when he does wake up during the day he gets online and plays guild wars or soldier of fortune. When we talk lately it’s all about what’s happening in his games. He also has only one real live friend. All the other people he is “friends” with are from Europe and Australia and what not. People he’s never met… I’m scared for him and it’s hurting me. We had plans today, and when I called him at 1:30, he was still asleep. He told me that he wanted to sleep more because he didn’t go to bed until 7:30 this morning. He cancelled on me again. I hate it when he does this to me. That’s why I’m on here – looking for help. I understand that he needs his space to do what he enjoys doing, and I’m totally okay with that, but I think that over 10 hours a day is getting excessive. Please someone, give me some advice. I want to tell him that I’m worried about him and how much he’s hurting me but I don’t know what to say or how to say it without attacking him. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO…??? Please help me…

gaming addiction
Name: Daily ()
Date: 08/13/2007 00:53

I’m 27 and have played MMORPGs for nearly 5 years.

For the last 2 years I’ve slowly added more game time and decreased real life social time.

Currently, I have no friends other than my online friends and even those are few because my natural personality (I believe) is to have a small and very close few for friends.

At this point I am no longer in college, my boyfriend supports my household financially and I spend my entire day around my computer. I sit no place else.

I have played every MMO released for play.
I become very easily burnt out with games since I play so much, but I am constantly downloading something new…even if I know I won’t play it long.

I have nothing else to talk about.
Every conversation I have with boyfriend or an occasional family member has a gaming reference. It embarrasses me and I never admit to anyone that I do absolutely nothing else besides gaming.

Sadly, these wonderful experiences in-game create a depression that I try my hardest to suppress. I sleep more often than usual and I shamefully neglect personal hygiene for days because of the time it will take away from my computer.

I know that I have a problem and the more I type this out, the more real it becomes. I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. To end my gaming would be ending a daily life that I’ve had for years. Who could do that?

There is no ‘blame’ here other than my own.
I’m an adult and I make a decision to play games.
This has snow-balled into a problem, but the only real problem is my will-power.

I hope that others will come to terms with their problems…if only to keep them from limiting their lives like I have.
There IS more to life.
Games are great, but real relationships and physical contact is needed .[/B]

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