Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Gaming Fanatics Show Hallmarks of Drug Addiction

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the I'm-looking-at-you-cowboy dept.

Games 497

Game_addict writes "There's a story over at New Scientist saying that a new study has found that game addiction has the same effects on people as drug addiction."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Big Effing Deal (0, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050311)

Guess what - so does religion.

Re:Big Effing Deal (5, Interesting)

radicalskeptic (644346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050351)

Well I know you were probably joking, but really after reading the article, they're talking about different mechanisms in the brain.

The article talks about how stimuli related to an addictive game/substance can trigger strong desires and reactions in addicted people. However, if you show my mother (a devout Catholic and Sunday school teacher) a cross, she doesn't get the urge to suddenly go to chuch and pray.

On the other hand, if I watch a Japanese Guilty Gear [] match [] , I really do feel restless and end up firing up my Xbox for some sweet, sweet release.

Now if you'll excuse me I gotta go play some Guilty Gear :/

No Joke (4, Insightful)

Kagenin (19124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050430)

"Religion is the Opiate of the Masses."

Re:Big Effing Deal (0, Flamebait)

shihka (799693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050370)

Addiction by defination is a "strong emotional and /or psychological dependence on a substance"

Therefor I don't think a person can be addicted to religion, how can you be addicted to something that is not real?

Food on the other hand, might qualify as a biological built in addiction. You feel aweful if you don't eat. You are also programmed to seek food out. If you don't have daily dose of food it really interfers with your life - for example you die. Talk about negative side-affects.

Re:Big Effing Deal (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050383)

...for example you die. Talk about negative side-affects.

Damn. I thought that was the meaning of life!

Re:Big Effing Deal (5, Insightful)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050397)

Therefor I don't think a person can be addicted to religion, how can you be addicted to something that is not real?

God-belief and adherence to dogma are quite real, regardless of the reality of the gods in question and regardless of the validity of the dogma.

Re:Big Effing Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050570)

Only on /. can a discussion about gaming adiction turn into a relegious debate and thats only in the first post lol


click the link please []

Re:Big Effing Deal (2, Interesting)

Private Taco (808864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050408)

Something doesn't have to be "real" to generate a self reinforcing chemical change in the brain. Meditation would be an example. Stress can kill even if the object that generates the stress is imagined.

Re:Big Effing Deal (1)

pyrote (151588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050553)

Something doesn't have to be "real" to generate a self reinforcing chemical change in the brain.

Nice a thread on how much more 'real' religion is to a videogame.
Both activities when preacticed will build reinforced neuro pathways that make the brain feel good to use.

Not to call out too many flames, but I've seen more people ruined by religious fanaticisim than by video games.

Don't get me wrong, I am a preist, but sometimes it does get out of hand, much like gaming, gambling, drinking, Extreme sports, IM/AOL, etc...

Even in my own family one person was fired from being an engineer because he couldn't focus on the job at hand rather than everyones salvation. Now he's a family outcast with a Hyper-tension heart issue.

I think it's best said: too much of a good thing (OR ANYTHING) is a bad thing.

Re:Big Effing Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050404)

Yet again scientists confusing cause and effect, people can develop obsessions over anything and thats what it is, an obsession not an addiction. Its not like anyone who plays game could become addicted. These people probably have no lives so they turn to videogames but they could also read lots of books or watch lots of movies.

Re:Big Effing Deal (1)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050464)

And also with Love []

Re:Big Effing Deal (1)

lappy512 (853357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050557)

Newsflash! There's a story over at New Slashdot saying that a new study has found that Slashdot addiction has the same effects on people as drug addiction.

Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050313)


So ... (5, Funny)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050322)

Where do I sign up for 'disability' payments?

Re:So ... (2, Funny)

iGN97 (83927) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050487)

You can only do that if you consistently blame getting fragged on the lag.

Yeah I know... (1)

kramthegram (918152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050323)

That's why I get my fix on the internet... delete my cache and no one is the wiser! Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A bitches!

You know the worst part? (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050324)

What makes it tougher is that gamers cannot simply abstain from using computers - they are now an integral part of our lives. In that sense, it has to be approached in the same way as an eating disorder, she suggests.
From what I've heard, fighting a normal addiction is hard enough, but when you're forced to be in contact with the thing you're addicted to, it's much, much worse.

That certainly makes me be more careful about this than I otherwise would have been!

Re:You know the worst part? (1)

kramthegram (918152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050335)

Yeah, I wonder if that can get me out of submitting trouble tickets? "Sorry Boss, but you're being an enabler right now... and that's just no good for me and my addiction."

Re:You know the worst part? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050380)

The only trouble is that opens you up to the counter-argument, "well, if you're addicted to computers, why don't you get a job digging ditches instead?"

Re:You know the worst part? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050398)

You just have to recognize what part of the computer you're addicted to. I was addicted to Counter-Strike. So I recognized that, and instead got read slashdot all the time. Which I'm not addicted to at all. Not at all.

It's all about access (2, Funny)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050425)

I'm lucky. I've got an addiction too, but Hilary Duff won't let me anywhere near her.

Not the same (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050325)

Maybe the mechanism of addiction is similar, but there is no physical dependancy, as there is with many drugs.

Dopamine _is_ the physical dependancy. (5, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050343)

The reason people get addicted to substances is that their body adapts so that only that substance can trigger the release of dopamine (i.e. the chemical that makes you feel happy). The point of TFA is that psychological triggers (e.g. gaming) can cause the same adaptation. In this way, gaming addiction is no less "physical" than drug addiction.

Re:Dopamine _is_ the physical dependancy. (1)

radicalskeptic (644346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050374)

Yes but I think we can agree that people who don't play WoW for a two days don't suffer from "irritability, headaches, anxiety, cognitive disturbances and sleep disruption" [] , as smokers do.

Or maybe I'm mistaken. Are there any WoW addicts here who had physical withdrawal symptoms after two days of not playing?

Re:Dopamine _is_ the physical dependancy. (1)

visgoth (613861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050536)

I was seriously... distracted... by Diablo2. I'd get rather restless about an hour before quitting time at work and would feel a sense of relief once I was at home, bashing pixels. I pretty much quit the game cold turkey, I one day just found myself deeply bored with the prospect of doing yet another baal run. Never touched the game since, and had no real need to. I did try WoW for a few months, but found it deeply boring as well. I guess I don't get the "high" or whatever off this type of game anymore.

Re:Not the same (2, Interesting)

ThndrShk2k (805287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050407)

This just in: Studies show that being addicted to something is like being addicted to something else!
~More at 11.

Learning is recognised as an important underlying mechanism of addiction. In becoming addicted, people start to associate cues that are normally neutral with the object of their craving. To a crack addict, for instance, a building in which they have used the drug is more than just a place they have been - it becomes a trigger for craving and can, on its own, reignite a need to use the drug again after months of abstinence.
Although, failing to mention that any repitive action/experience, or even a first would trigger memories. A normal human reaction to anything.

Re:Not the same (2, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050542)

The physical habituation aspect of drug addiction is actually a fairly minor aspect of it. But there's a "middle layer" between the "purely" physical (e.g., the decline in endorphine or dopomine production for 'physically' addictive drugs that leads to withdrawal symptoms) and the "just" cognitive (you keep doing something you like for relatively 'rational' reasons) - the displacement of normal goals (by one definition or another) with those rewards created by the object of addiction, whether it is a substance or a behaviour, is the most intractable type of addiction, and the one that tends to come back the most.

90% of people who become addicted to opiates do not seek them out after they go through withdrawal and detox - their addiction is just physical.

Ultimately, remember, it is all physical, even the act of you reading these words is an electrochemical process that probably even involves the endocrine system.

Does NOT.. In Fact... (5, Funny)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050328)

It DOES NOT. In Fact, I can stop playing Quake any time I choose. And when I choose to I will. Just not right now. I have a couple more frags to get... NO Really... anytime I want...

It's a behavioral problem (5, Interesting)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050329)

In the same way that you can train a dog to salivate at the sound of a bell, you can train people to react in certain ways to various stimuli. That's not drugs, that's Pavlov.

Gamers (and, dare I say it, many web surfers) have trained themselves to forego real work and real life in favor of a game. In fact, games are especially conducive to this kind of training. The reward/punishment system is more or less random which increases the players' propensity to keep at it in hopes of success.

Rats who are fed every time they press a button will only press the button when they are hungry. However rats that are fed sometimes and not fed other times when they press a button will press the button all day long.

Re:It's a behavioral problem (1)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050508)

Are you calling me a rat because I push the /. button all day?

NetHack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050331)

So... somebody please tell me what kind of drug NetHack is? Cocaine? LSD? Pot? Dreamshit? Opium?

*goes to perform YASD in NetHack*

Duh! (4, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050332)

Too much of anything seems to have the same effects as a drug addiction. So far we've seen Internet addictions [] , other Gaming addictions [] , News addictions [] , and more [] .

Perhaps it's related to the definition of the word "addiction" [] ? When somebody enjoys doing something they obviously want to do it more often. The question is just how much do they let that enjoyment interfere with their lives and possibly the lives of others?

Re:Duh! (5, Insightful)

patonw (747304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050417)

I think it's more that nonconformist habits are considered harmful to journalists... whatever they are. Excessive socializing can be addictive (not that any of us here are in danger here). Going to work every morning and getting your paycheck every other week is habit forming... I know many people who want to break the habit and just can't.

Re:Duh! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050467)

The question is just how much do they let that enjoyment interfere with their lives and possibly the lives of others?

I will just put it this way...

Government will never be the answer to any addiction problems, nor should it ever be.
I'm tired of these spineless people that want to label everything fun as a "danger" and pose solutions for "our own good". I tell you what, I will hear what you have to say, but TELL me what I fucking can and cannot do with my own life so long as it does not directly effect another person own persuit of happiness.

Slashdotters Anonymous? (1)

Zilverfire (819134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050539)

Im pretty sure I've devolped a slashdot addiction...

Re:Slashdotters Anonymous? (1)

CCelebornn (829849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050576)

Errr, you've forgotton to tick that "Post Anonymously" box....

Re:Duh! (4, Insightful)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050584)

When somebody enjoys doing something they obviously want to do it more often.

Not that exactly. Addiction is more like a compulsive behaviour: irrationally motivated. It is a complex psychological issue. Game junkies do enjoy gaming, but definitely not THAT much.

This just in: (5, Funny)

oGMo (379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050334)

"Journalists show hallmarks of sensationalistic idiots."

Before the flame wars break out (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050342)

What the article basically says is that hardcore gamers can become fixated on games, and will respond to games as positive stimuli. A gaming "addict", according to TFA, will react with "longing" to still screens of a game they want to play. This is news?

What this basically boils down to is that games, like every other pleasureable activity in the world, can become psychologically addictive. This isn't exactly new information. And it isn't worth getting worked up over, though doubtlessly gamers will be offended by the comparison to junkies, and concerned parents types, or asshats that cater to them *cough, Jackass Thompson, cough*, will make this out to be some fucking national crisis.

Logical pitfall? (4, Insightful)

soma_0806 (893202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050344)

Seems like they made the mistake of assuming the converse here. Just because drug addicts are similar to game addicts does not mean game addicts are necessarily like drug addicts.

Drug addiction, being primarily metabolic, may have a more limited set of idenitifying characteristics. Game addiction, being primarily mental (or maybe even social) has more varying charactistics as psyches and social structures have a lot of built-in variance.

I'd have a much easier time buying the argument that drug addict behavior/characteristics fit in as a subset of the acceptable behaviors/characteristics of gaming culture.


Re:Logical pitfall? (4, Insightful)

246o1 (914193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050581)

Drug addiction, being primarily metabolic, may have a more limited set of idenitifying characteristics. Game addiction, being primarily mental (or maybe even social) has more varying charactistics as psyches and social structures have a lot of built-in variance.
An interesting take on it, but I think you're looking at it the wrong way. As drugs have very specific effects on the body, being generally concentrations of one or several potent substances, it is USEFUL, in terms of conveying information, to say that something as broad and varied as gaming can include these effects, and does, statistically. It is not very USEFUL to compare something to gaming this way, because it is a complex set of behaviors with very varied psychological and physiological consequences. For a more intuitive version of this argument consider saying that Liquids share properties with Milk versus Milk has the properties of Liquids. Liquids, being a very narrowly defined set of properties (==the effects of drugs), is useful for describing milk. Milk has many properties(==the effects of gaming), and the first ones that come to mind are not going to be the same for everyone. "Drugs are like gaming" would only convey information to the extent that people assume you mean "Gaming is like drugs." Granted, here i refer to the effects, not the people, which you might find objectionable.

How about... (2)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050348)

How about fixing the problem they're running away from (through temporary diversion like illicit drugs or (gasp) game playing?) Of course, knowing our congress critters (for that matter, most government officials on the planet) they do just outlaw "it" and declare the problem fixed.

Partially True (5, Interesting)

Ozymand E. Us (931598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050349)

From my own experience, I believe this study to be true, but only for certain games. For instance, I've played and beaten DooM, and walked away. I've beaten D2X, but I still continue to play it. What's the difference? The open-endedness.
A "beatable" game, like DooM, is largely unaddictive. Once you've trashed it on Nightmare Mode, that's it, game over, endostory. Sure, there are timetrial and such, but they're the exceptiont hat proves the rule.
However a game like Diablo II, one that you can't truly beat, is addictive. Sure, you could kill Baal on Hell and call it a day, but who does that? Everybody keeps playing, building their characters up more and more and more, until you have a level 93 Hammerdin with all the trimmings- and like addicts, my brother and I kept playing.
(I should note here that I don't consider gaming with friends that you can see addictive behavior. What makes it less socially acceptible than dropping 10 bucks on a movie?)
I do have one issue with the study. Who's to say that the gamers had less ocular reaction because they were conditioned to having a sudden surprise from gaming itself? I hardly blink anymore when a baddie comes flying out from nowhere.

Re:Partially True (1)

Bishop (4500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050583)

As another poster pointed out it is the random reward system [] in Diablo 2 and similar games that keep you playing. After you have played Doom once you pretty much know what to expect behind every door. In D2 even after you have beaten the game and maxed out your character there is still the chance of a random unique or set item drop. D2 was also genius with its semi random dungeons and terrain.

Two buddies and I maxed several characters in D2 and the expansion pack. We held 2, 3 or more online sessions of several hours durring the week, and often longer sessions on the weekend (especially in winter). Then one day we burnt out on the game. In the middle of an evening session with mid level characters we stopped in town for a quick item sell and refit. We chatted for a bit, and never played the game again. Those were good times.

Re:Partially True (1)

yuriismaster (776296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050587)

Heh.. D2 Seriously, it go so bad, that I had to uninstall D2, lock it away from myself above the laundry, give away my online accounts (all 8 mule accounts too), and go totally cold turkey. I had dreams.. nightmares even, but I eventually got over it. Twas a shame to give up what I had amassed, but I realized it wasnt worth anywhere near as much once 1.10 came out, so it made things easier to swallow. I never know exactly what became of those cds after I moved out.

In related news... (2, Funny)

Elitist_Phoenix (808424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050350)

... so does Slashdot!

Re:In related news... (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050415)

You ain't joking there..... If you've ever refreshed Slashdot after reading it less than 5 minutes ago, you've got a problem ;)

It's a good thing... (3, Funny)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050353)

... that my only addiction is to Duke Nuke'em Forever.

World of Warcraft FTW (2, Funny)

SenorMooCow (541070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050357)

I would have posted sooner but I was busy playing WoW. :)

Of course, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050358)

but drugs would be cheaper.

sheesh (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050371)

This is really an insult to all those who suffer from real addiction problems.

Oh no! I skipped class to play games!
Heh, that's minor stuff. Real addiction problems typically end in someone dying.

Re:sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050446)

Koreans die from gaming marathons all the time.

Re:sheesh (1)

Neko-kun (750955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050507)

Uhm... What about this [] guy?

Re:sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050530)

Are you sure?
I think the Korean gamer [] who lost his job and later died after a fifty-hour session of Starcraft, might beg to differ. There are other cases that I have heard about, and so I'm sure it's more of a problem than many care to think.
Many of you are implying that because the addiction is psychological, it's not real... well, as one who knows people personally that suffer from psychological conditions, they are very real, even to the point where they become disabilities. A gaming addiction may not have the same symptoms as a methamphetamine addiction, but it is still a very real problem.

What about TV? (4, Insightful)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050375)

A whole lot of people spend around 4 to 5h in front of a TV every day of the week, mostly without interruption and that's considered normal. TV addiction is much more widespread than computer game addiction. Yet I haven't heard of a TV user anonymous. IMO most TV viewers have serious issues.

UO is the devil! (4, Interesting)

Anyd (625939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050376)

I remember for a couple years in high school I'd be able to log in about 50 hours over the weekend playing UO (there are ~64 playable hours between when school gets out on friday and restarts on monday.) By the time I went off to college I really felt like I had some social catching-up to do. It really did have about the same influence on my life as a drug addiction would have. I cut off most social ties which didn't involve game-playing, my school work went to sh*t, and it caused all kinds of friction between my parents and I.
Luckly, once I went off to college I started bartending... and it's hard not to make friends or get dates when you get people drunk for a living!

So? (3, Interesting)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050381)

Any coping mechanism can easily become addictive (which, iirc, is exactly what the study says).

Nail biting.


Reading slashdot at midnight listening to moxy fruvous and lou bega.


Correcting people's grammar.


Auto-erotic asphyxiation.

You're supposed to capitalize proper nouns. (1)

michaeltoe (651785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050394)

Sorry, I can't control it.

Re:You're supposed to capitalize proper nouns. (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050456)

Oh, you're referring to Moxy Fruvous and Lou Bega? My bad. Did I miss any other ones?

Re:So? (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050572)

Any coping mechanism can easily become addictive (which, iirc, is exactly what the study says).

Ok, one by one:

Nail biting. Check

Sex. Check

Reading slashdot at midnight listening to moxy fruvous and lou bega.
  Slashdot - check. Midnight - check. Lou Bega - check. (wow!)

Dominoes Nope. Not me. Even Dominoes pizza sucks.

Correcting people's grammar. Well, I've been known... the one that bugs me most is "him and me went to the store"... Ask my kids.

Shopping. Oh Jesus, dear God no. I hate shopping! Maybe I'm not such an addict.

Auto-erotic asphyxiation. That does it - no interest here. I'm going back to pot!

Addiction eh... (3, Insightful)

arakon (97351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050388)

Well if you define addictions by what generates a positive response in the brain, just about anything that is fun can/will become an addiction. On the other hand I'd like to quote a line from Bob Sagat in the Movie half-baked.

"Have you ever sucked cock for pot!? You don't have an addiction."

^substitute games for pot. Serious addictions can cause a serious breakdown in self-image to the point where anything is acceptable to get the next fix. When I start seeing offers for people to give the ass-secks and other such non-social openly acceptable behavior then I'll deem "game" addiction as a serious threat to the youth of the world. But honestly I don't think that will happen anytime soon.

"Hey man I'll give you head for an hour with your Xbox360...."


Umm... (1)

Vladimus (583117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050447)

But honestly I don't think that will happen anytime soon.
It just did. I'm broke, and my buddy pre-ordered.

Re:Umm... (1)

arakon (97351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050506)

You gave out blowjobs and the ass-secks (or some other morally reprehensible behavoir) so you could get an Xbox360? Okay I stand corrected. Gaming addiction "IS" obviously a serious problem.


The problem with that analogy (1)

MCTFB (863774) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050549)

is that drugs, largely because of their illegal nature, are generally expensive habits. Gaming is relatively cheap. If I were to take the 40 bucks I spent on Starcraft and Brood War and then divide that amount by how many hours total I spent on that game, well then I am basically getting a really good bang for my buck, whereas with many illegal drugs, they can bankrupt millionaires practically overnight.

Even for MMORPG's which are on average around 10 bucks a month, the average gamer is still getting quite a good fix for the amount of hours they put into the game.

That is the benefit and the danger of gaming. Just like with masturbation, gaming is for all intents and purposes a free addictive activity, which means there is no reality check that you have a problem until you are evicted, homeless, and hungry. However, with masturbation you can do it so many times in a day before things start to bleed and then you know you definitely have a problem.

I haven't played Mario for 3 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050395)

And I can't TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! I need Mario, I mean, I have a problem, I mean oh God!

I feel cold........

My imagination maybe (1)

patonw (747304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050405)

but does it seem like everything is like a drug nowadays, at least according to researchers?

Quick, someone compare "researchers" to drug addicts!

Re:My imagination maybe (1)

visgoth (613861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050566)

Hmm... "researchers" are totally dependant on funding, so they lower themselves to stating things like "gaming is addictive"?

MMOGA (0, Offtopic)

myheroBobHope (842869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050406)

myherobobhope says: hi, my name is myherobobhope, and i'm a gamerholic. elitehackorz says: hi bob! mashdubuttons says: hi bob! 2sexy says: hi bob! 2 questions: What's the end game like and how much a month is it?

Poor designed study (3, Interesting)

Frangible (881728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050409)

Addictive drugs are typically so because they spike dopamine levels in the shell of the nucelus accumbens. This study does not show this is the case for video games, so to compare the mechanisms is rather ridiculous and is a conclusion they have no data to base upon.

The psychopathology of compulsive gambling has been studied in great depth and differs significantly from a drug addiction. I really don't see any basis for this group's outlandish claims. What they are describing is hedonism, not an addiction in the same context of drugs. Just because they may share symptoms does not equate them biologically.

This Just In! (1)

ruiner5000 (241452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050410)

Slashdot Post Fanatics Show Hallmarks of Drug Addiction!

Some signs to watch out for... (2, Funny)

cffrost (885375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050412)

- Concerned familiy members confront you with stacks of empty jewel cases and electronics store receipts.

- Making promises to yourself you can't keep ("Just one last round...").

- Tendency to play alone; preference for single-player games over socially-accepted multi-player.

- Begging the cashier at Best Buy to front you a new title ("C'mon man I'll have the $49.95 by Friday, I swear!").

Good wee hours of the morn' topic (3, Insightful)

RisingSon (107571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050413)

Outstanding topic for discussion at 1:37 am CST. Yes, we are addicted. I'm nearing 30 and I've been addicted to a lot of things. Video games are near the top of the list.

Like most things that are sinfully delicous (pr0n, booze, pot) - video games provide so much satisfaction, even though its totally synthetic. Would I get a "high" reading a Tolstoy novel? Yes. Would I get a high getting wasted and watching Robot Chicken? Yes. One takes dicipline and the other is cheap, but they both work.

Can someone become addicted to any of these things? Absolutely. Anything that is enticing enough to detract from the dicipline of the daily grind can become an addiction (/. anyone?)

The article talks about "drug memories" - how about my keyboard? Man, it feels so familiar. My PS2 controller? Oh, yeah, totally an extension of my hand.

A point about video games specifically - does anyone know a casual+ gamer that hasn't gone on an 8 hour binge? I recently introduced my 30-something neighbor to video games (GT4 + logitech wheel). Sure enough, he did an 8pm-4am addict session after only two days and he'd never played video games before.

If you show me a screenshot of Super Mario Bros or Starcraft...hell yeah, I'm going to want to play that game.

One last comment - has anyone seen the Marco Brambilla exhibit called Half-Life? Its a room with three screens - the front is a 2x2 display of kids playing counter-strike and the sides are videos from the conter-striker game they're playing. Its done really well - watching their faces hit me like a rocket launcher. I had to sit down and watch it for 15 minutes or so. I almost totally broke down. All those empty souls just wanted a kill. I'm not against video game violence but you can't deny its impact on your inner being.

Marco Brambilla link #1 []

Marco Brambilla link #2 []

You make a good point (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050459)

Many people who are in their late 20s and early 30s haven't grown the fuck up and become adults. Maybe it's because they've had their entire life handed to them on a silver fucking platter or maybe mommy and daddy were always there to hold their hand when things got shitty, but nevertheless these babies of adult age are still playing video games.

Well yeah... (1)

Boomeringue (930470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050422)

The big difference is I can beat the big boss in GTA and work on a different neurological/intellectual pathway, but heroin or cocaine doesn't have the same liimitations...

Already happened? (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050424)

Is it just me, or does this article make you feel like you're already overdosed [] on something?

Moz on Fedora, the lettering is just all goofed up and quite hard to read...

Duh? (1)

bassgoonist (876907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050432)

I really needed an expensive study to know that gaming can be as addictive as drugs...

Pish posh. (1)

Mr Maggoo (931312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050434)

I do agree that gaming is addictive. However, I would not for a second compare it to that of a drug addiction. Gaming hasn't done anything to my social or school life, im still getting as high as marks as im expected, and I have even more friends since I've started playing certain games. I have been gaming pretty much all my life and I aint gonna stop now.

Re:Pish posh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050592)

Gaming hasn't done anything to my social or school life, im still getting as high as marks as im expected, and I have even more friends since I've started playing certain games.

The same is true of many drug users. Like drugs, it seems both use and abuse of games is possible.

Yet another study (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050436)

Yet another study based on bias agaist something completely healthy in moderation, using drugs as a bait.

What's next, "basketball addictive like drugs"?

So what's next? (2, Funny)

agapits (888810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050443)

Are they going to build rehab centers for game addicts where patients can only play super mario brothers or galaxia?

Re:So what's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050537)

Sorry, but that would rule. RULE.

Must get my fix (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050454)

I'm not addicted I just have to play for 8 hours a day. I'm not addicted I tell you. Damn it - you don't understand. The voices in my head tell me to do it. You'll have to pry the game from my cold dead fingers.

Gateway drug? (5, Funny)

daniel422 (905483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050466)

And this article doesn't even go near the gateway aspect of videogames. Why I never started drinking and smoking dope until I started playin'. Now it's all been downhill. After that last all-night coke binge playing Sonic the Hedgehog I figured enough was was time to turn my life around. And it all started with a few mushrooms and a crazy guy called Mario....

Nerds to start beating people up for latest FIX?!? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050473)

Game_addict writes "There's a story over at New Scientist saying that a new study has found that game addiction has the same effects on people as drug addiction."

So what nerds will start to go around robbing and beating people up just to get their latest fix! Apart from beating up some spotty kid behind the the till at the local kmart/dixons/pcworld etc I don't see most nerds being that succesfull with the beating part! Mind you if your talking about game fixes then beating up the local kmart loser is probably all that is required to get the fix ;-)) As for the robbing well that's those who visit .ru websites !

This Sure Seems To Be Ruffling Some Feathers Here (3, Insightful)

MCTFB (863774) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050490)

In the past, just like pretty much most guys involved in the computer related professions have done our fair share of gaming over the years and it is pretty much part of the culture. In fact, it is hard to socialize with fellow programmers unless you have some street credibility in Doom, Starcraft, etc. With computer use becoming as ubiquitous among the younger generation as it has always been with the "geek profession" crowd, I think that gaming addictions will continue to be a bigger and bigger problem in society.

I myself used to play an insane amount of Starcraft and Warcraft III. Do I regret all the time I spent playing those games? Sometimes yes, but hey those were fun games isn't life about having a good time so long as it is not at the expense of someone else? Then again, I am sure doing crack cocaine is fun the first few times for those who have tried it (just speculating since I have never done crack cocaine personally). Just like with any other addictable drug, gaming can consume your life and nothing else in life seems fun anymore. Before you know it you are depressed and the only thing you look forward to is gaming, but those darn dopamine receptors just won't get fired up like they used to due to the LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS: The greater the thrill, the harder and edgier the thrill will have to be the next time around to seem as exciting.

Now, I love playing sports, especially soccer, but you can only run around having fun kicking a ball so long before you physically get tired and the pain of sore legs outweighs the pleasure you have dribbling and passing the ball down the field and your brain tells you to stop. Unfortunately, with computer gaming the only thing telling you to stop is a parent, spouse, or your heart as it gives out playing your choice MMORPG several days straight nonstop.

But what if "gaming addiction" becomes a big enough problem to society that it causes other social problems just like many illegal drugs do when people get hooked on them. Just look at online Poker which was once a simple card game, and now has been bastardized into an internet phenomenon of largely anonymous competition. People play Poker not because they think they will get rich, but because people are addicted to the thrill of besting their neighbor. Simply put, competitive people like myself are addicted to competition and that can manifest itself in both positive and negative ways (I don't gamble BTW, because I feel gambling is a stupidity tax and I don't like being taxed in the first place).

So what should be done about gaming addiction, especially since it is not easy to just throw out your computer and function in the modern world? I know plenty of people who have thrown out their TV, but the computer? Seriously, get real. One idea is something that worked reasonably well with the arcade games when they were popular when you didn't have the Playstation 2 or the XBOX is a pay per play system. As you play more and more, the quarters you pop into the machine start to become painful after a while as you notice your wallet getting thinner and thinner. Once you are broke, you are forced to go work to get more money to play more games. Also, if you want to play games you have to make a conscious decision to spend money, whereas if you had a monthly rate of unlimited gaming (such as a Wow subscription), then you would probably overindulge in gaming just as fat people generally overindulge at all you can eat buffets.

So, one easy thing that can be done for any form of online gaming whether it be WoW or Poker or the RTS games I love is to force vendors to charge by the minute and tax that income so as to provide revenue for programs dealing with the social pollution generated from "addictive gaming". Kind of like how we tax many other vices or how we fine companies that pollute the environment under the premise that companies should be held accountable for the negative side effects their business has on society at large.

I know I will get flamed for suggesting this, but as an ardent gamer myself, I know it does not bode well for society if everyone is spending their time searching for loot in some MMORPG, rather than actually getting a good night's sleep so they can be productive at making loot in their real life.

define drug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050494)

Some news. Nearly every change will produce certain stress hormones. Going from warm to cold, light to dark etc.

definition? (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050495)

So, playing games shares some physiological properties with taking drugs. But so do probably lots of other activities, like playing a musical instrument, watching television, having sex, participating in sports, running a startup company, etc. I think in order to decide whether we want to call this activity an "addiction", we need a lot more data and we ultimately need to make a judgement that goes beyond just similarity of physiological responses.

NO WAY (1)

Karem Lore (649920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050497)

This is utter tripe that is spouted from the mouths of those that do not approve. They call themselves scientists but they are anti-gamers at heart. There is nothing in my gaming habit that is anthing like my smoking, weed, alcohol, crack and heroine addiction right...NOTHING. And if you try and stop me from playing games I will rip your eyes out with a blunt fork...You get me...I am NOT addicted...NOT!

Right, now I got that off of my chest I do love games...However I have never stolen someone else's property to pay for my next hit; ok I admit that MOST (and I am sincere here) are original with FEW torrented files. However thos that are torrented are to check if I will like the game prior to paying for it, usually the answer is no.

Do I get withdrawal symptoms when I go on holiday? Hell no! Do I sit and quiver in my hotel bed seeing things for 24 hours deprivation, hell no.

Now, do I get exicited at the prospect of beating that next target in a computer game? Of course I do, but I don't need to do it tonight or tomorrow, I can still choose; that part of my so-called "addiction" is still in my control and is what seperates games from hard-drug crack and like...I still choose.


Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050501)

I would post a witty reply, but my 15-minute break is over. Back to CounterStrike.

Newsflash: Brain lacks dedicated gaming module! (5, Interesting)

IntelliTubbie (29947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050503)

From TFA:

Grüsser says that addictions stem from relying too heavily on one coping strategy, which eventually becomes the only activity that can activate the dopamine system and bring a person relief. "It's the same mechanism in all addicts," she says.

You mean the brain doesn't have completely separate mechanisms for addictions to video games and drugs (and gambling, and sex ...)? Gee, I wonder how evolution missed that one. In related news, the human body reacts similarly to getting hit by a baseball bat as getting hit by a cricket bat. No kidding ... the same mechanism! :)


Re:Newsflash: Brain lacks dedicated gaming module! (1)

MadMoses (151207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050558)

Gee, I wonder how evolution missed that one.

Evolution? The Flying Spaghetti Monster designed us this way!

Reply to everyone saying Its not true (2, Interesting)

vodkamattvt (819309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050515)

You are here --> Step 1. Denial But seriously, most any activity can be an addiction, in some sense, if you do it compulsively to the detriment to the well being of the rest of your life.

In related news... (No, really) (1)

fmwap (686598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050545)

addict3d is running a story titled MPAA: pirated DVDs are "New Drug On The Street" []

"A lot of people we were arresting had drug conviction backgrounds. Actually, what they said was, 'This is the new drug on the street,'" said Supik, an MPAA field investigator who assists local law enforcement in anti-piracy raids.

Where's the physical addiction?! If I stop watching or playing will I go into convulsions?

Addictive personalities (3, Insightful)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050546)

Personal experience suggests that the tendency to become addicted to things varies from person to person, and is presumably related to individual variations in brain chemistry. Just as there are certain personality types that will with equal ease make good Catholics, Protestants, communists or fascists - they just need to be part of an authoritarian culture - so there are clearly people who get a bigger reaction from certain repeated activities than the rest of us. I have a very low addictive tendency, but I'm aware the downside is that I don't get the high from these activities that some people do.

However, if this is right, there may be a very positive side. Does being a game addict mean that you aren't going to become a crack addict and become a huge nuisance to society stealing things to pay for your addiction? Or is there an "intelligence" factor in this, i.e. people who become addicted to drugs do it because they are too stupid to become addicted to something less socially harmful, like chess, computer games, share dealing or politics?

It would be interesting to know. The traditional solution to heroin addiction was to wean addicts off on methadone - which is not terribly effective. Is the answer to provide some of them with wall to wall games until they find one that makes an addiction substitute?

Anecdotally, it's interesting how some "reformed" alcoholics seem to go into politics (G W Bush, Alastair Campbell in the UK) suggesting that there is indeed some sort of crossover compensating mechanism.

I think too we need to make a distinction between the things people do in young adulthood - often very stupid and subsequently embarrassing behaviour - and what they do in later life. Young men in particular may pursue an activity obsessively, but as they grow older it takes a more balanced place in life - whether it be drinking, fishing, or the pursuit of women. Perhaps it's a "normal" addictive phase, in which case again, the less anti-social the effects, the better.

Obligatory Simpsons (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050559)

Selma: You're not disappointed are you?
Marge: Oh no, no no...No, I'm just...surprised.
Homer: Yeah...big surprise. Hey Marge, here's another bomb...I like beer! Ha ha ha ha!

Those of you joking, it's no laughing matter. (3, Insightful)

Stick_Fig (740331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050567)

Most people just don't realize how much of a coping mechanism gaming can become. And trust me, I speak from personal experience, as someone who tried to get a family member away from a game, but they wouldn't budge. They'd get up at 10:00 AM and sleep at 4:00 AM, and do basically nothing but play this game.

Basically, they were dealing with a loss of their own, and that was their way of dealing with it. It took over: Their health and money problems took a toll, and they ended up passing away at a relatively young age.

You know, I get bitter every time someone comes up with this "personal responsibilty" crap that comes up every time something related to an addiction comes up. THEY TRIED THAT -- THE ADDICTION IS TOO MUCH, AND THEY NEED HELP.

I'm just angry that our society is molded in such a way that people who need help get laughed at if it's a certain kind of ailment. I just hope your family doesn't have to go through what mine did.

This Doesnt Help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14050569)

1. We admitted we were powerless over on-line gaming, and that our lives have become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

These are the first three steps of the "12 step plan" posted on steps.html []

After reading these, all i wanted to do was fire up good old CS:S.

From first-hand experience, it doesn't (4, Interesting)

Numen (244707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050596)

I spent 6 months in rehad many years ago when I was 18. Any comparison between "gaming addiction" and drug addiction is silly, and moreso insulting. I have lost several friends to overdose and hiv as a result of drug abuse. I have lost no friends to "gaming addiction".... Chemical Dependence run in my family, and has impacted many lives within my family alone. Gaming addiction doesn't.

In our next article.... Studies Say, Trauma Cause By Paper Cuts Comparable To Road Traffic Accidents.


Brother Leo Said It Best (2, Interesting)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050597)

Leo Laporte [] mentioned recently on the excellent podcast TWIT [] (This Week In Tech) in extended discussion with his old chronies from when TechTV's ScreenSavers was in its hayday (in otherwords before G4 TV bought it, moved it from the Bay area, replaced everyone who wasn't telegenic with pretty faces staring stiff and stupid into the camera - in short made it suck donkey ass) observed that Blizzzard's World of Warcraft [] redered one "Only _marginally_ functional as an adult"

A fact to which my level 31 Mage can readily attest. Apparently Leo has a level *blah* Paladin in that game.

Also, of note in that same podcast it was mentioned that there are "Latin American sweatshops" where US citizens pay those less of the less fortunate nations to spend the hours on end it takes to "level up" their character so that when they log in "voila"! They can stomp around the land of Azeroth as a Level 60 fill in the blank. Now, I may be an addict, but where the hell is the fun in that? Also, as in other games is the amazing fact that people are selling [] characters, equipment and "gold" for umtpeen _hundreds_ to a _thousand_ or more real US 'Mercian DOLLARS!

The Cyberworld never ceases to shock and amaze...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?