Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Video Games Can Be as Addictive as Illicit Drugs

Addiction Treatment Magazine Getting between someone who is addicted and their drug of choice can prove to be a precarious move. Those struggling with an addiction become so attached to their preferred medium of pleasure delivery that they will often choose it over their own families. It can be alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, food, and even the Internet and video games.

Image from EvilControllers.com
The American Psychological Association’s diagnostic manual reflects this in its next release in May – violent video games can affect the pleasure center of the brain as intensely as drugs. Doctors have found that the area of the brain that is stimulated so rewarding while playing video games is the same area of the brain pleasured by alcohol and drugs. And, unfortunately, children are the most vulnerable to the powers of this gaming addiction. Some researchers are finding that video game addicts will get violent, physically and/or verbally, when someone puts a halt to their gaming, including their parents or siblings.

One researcher with nearly 20 years of experience in studying Internet-based addictions said violent games are often associated with aggressive behavior. Otherwise well-behaving kids that become addicted to gaming have been known to strike out at his/her parents when they intervene with the gaming.

Video Game Addiction
Researchers are also finding links between Internet addiction and mental issues, such as anxiety, depression and various learning disabilities. Most of the affected are young men or adolescents that are using gaming as an escape. It’s really no different than an alcoholic who finds pleasure in a bottle. But the source of the problem isn’t necessarily the game or the bottle; it’s something inside the brain of the addicted person that researchers are trying to unlock. At the same rate, researchers also warn that introducing youths to electronic gaming devices at an early age, which is a common practice in the developed world, can be as detrimental as handing them an addictive drug.

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