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The Real Story Behind Gaming Addiction

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the spotlight-on-black-tar-warcraft dept.

Medicine 300

Gamespot is running a feature looking into the facts behind gaming addiction: what it is, whether it exists, and why the need still exists for objective research into the issue. Quoting: "[Richard M. Ryan, a psychologist and professor of psychology, psychiatry, and education at the University of Rochester in New York] thinks the lack of quality research into video game overuse will be rectified with time as games become more sophisticated in the ways they satisfy people's psychological needs. 'We have a lot of people, some in the media and some in the sciences, who are too ready to make very strong claims about video games, whether we are talking about aggression, addiction, or cultural estrangement, based on very little evidence. I think that is especially how the media often sells stories. Some commentators exaggerate risks, and on the other hand there are defenders of games who deny any and all problems and attack any perceived bad news. Games are relatively new in our culture, and such vacillation between hysteria and denial I suspect often greets any new phenomenon, from hip-hop to the Internet to video games. Both sides usually have some part of the truth, but it may be a while before at least we as scientists, much less as a society, have a coherent understanding.'"

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Sports addiction = games addiction (0, Troll)

orta (786013) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595425)

Someone in the comments of the article mentions that there isn't that much of a difference to someone addicted to sports and someone addicted to gaming. However, people don't die from playing sports for 18 hours a day.

Re:Sports addiction = games addiction (4, Interesting)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595435)

people don't die from playing sports for 18 hours a day.

No, they wear out their bodies.

Re:Sports addiction = games addiction (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595439)

Neither do people playing videogames. Except for Korean people.

Re:Sports addiction = games addiction (4, Insightful)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595519)

How common is sports addiction anyway? I've never heard of people staying up until 3am to kick a soccer ball around several times a week or pissing in a water bottle because they couldn't bear to be away from the tennis court for a couple of minutes. MMORPG addicts behaving like that are a dime a dozen; sports addicts, not so much.

Re:Sports addiction = games addiction (2, Informative)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595737)

Drop by a 24 hour gym I guess...

Time to stop enabling spoiled brats (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595809)

How common is sports addiction anyway? I've never heard of people staying up until 3am to kick a soccer ball around several times a week or pissing in a water bottle because they couldn't bear to be away from the tennis court for a couple of minutes. MMORPG addicts behaving like that are a dime a dozen; sports addicts, not so much.

According to your criteria, second-hand sports addiction is very common. Guys will stop in the middle of sex because their stupid hockey game is on, or they'll find an excuse to go find a TV on their WEDDING DAY because the soccer game is on. Preachers hide mini tvs in their pulpits so they can keep track of the football game while they're preaching. Is any of this any better?

But to call it addiction in today's legal and social climate is to help "enable" the people who do it, just as calling morbidly obese people addicted to food would. It's time we took a real look at addiction, and admitted that there is always a choice involved - even for those who claim they can't stop. You can be darned sure that if you held a gun to their head, and told them that you'll pull the trigger if they don't stop, they will, if they've just seen you blow away the person next to them for the same reason.

To claim that there is no choice involved, ever, is to open up the door to pedophiles claiming they're "addicted" to having sex with 3-year-olds. Well, if they're "addicted", then they can't help themselves, and we have no right to punish them ... do you REALLY want to go there? Especially since there IS more evidence that pedophilia is an addiction than that gaming is... What about the person who shoplifts because they're "addicted" to bling? The person who defrauds millions because they're "addicted" to a certain social lifestyle and the endorphin high it gives them to lord it over eveyone? They don't need to be treated for addiction - they need to grow up.

Treat a kid like an adult, and they'll usually behave like one. Treat an adult like a child, and they'll behave like a child.

So, why are so many adults behaving childishly? Follow the endorphins. "It feels good" / gives an endorphin high - is NOT sufficient reason to lay a claim of addiction. The phony "disease" of kleptomania is just one example of how we make poor impulse control socially acceptable by mislabeling it. If you have poor impulse control and decide that you don't want to delay gratification, that's your choice. Live with the consequences. Drink yourself to death, eat yourself to death, game yourself to death, pile on credit card and mortgage debt to your financial ruin because you want it all, and you want it NOW - if you don't care, why should anyone else? But don't excuse it by saying you're addicted. After all, you LIKE it that way. Don't ask others to bail you out until you've learned the hard lessons, because only YOU can learn them, and that means YOU have to decide you're fed up with things as they are. Nobody else can make that choice for you, ever.

Treat a kid like an adult, and they'll usually behave like one. Treat an adult like a child, and they'll behave like a child.

Too many adults in this generation never really grew up. "Psychological addiction" is a joke. Label it what it really is - poor impulse control - by people who refuse to take responsibility for ruining their lives. THEN maybe we'll be in a better position to actually treat it, by confronting people with the fact that they need to learn to take control of their lives instead of playing the victim card all the time. Example: impulsive eaters are claiming discrimination because they're now being charged for the second seat. They should shut their mouths ... actually, they should have shut them 20 years ago, after that 5th piece of cake. Funny how we don't accept that with little children, but in adults, we slap the "psychological addiction" label on it, and poor impulse control is suddenly socially excusable. Fuck that - and the people pushing it. Grow up.

Really, just fucking grow up already. Your behaviour is disgusting and childish. We see a whole nation, nay, whole countries, where millions of people have helped fuck up the global economy because of their childish "need" to "have it all now"; a study by Fitch showed that, in a sample of thousands of mortgages, not ONE didn't involve some sort of fraud or misrepresentation. And these are the same people whining about needing a bail-out, or a mortgage adjustment? Never. These people, just like the "game addicts", are 100% responsible for their current problems - don't do the crime (mortgage fraud) unless you're ready to do the time. Don't ask the world to pay for your inability to control yourself like an adult.

Treat a kid like an adult, and they'll usually behave like one. Treat an adult like a child, and they'll behave like a child.

Re:Time to stop enabling spoiled brats (1)

sackvillian (1476885) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596003)

Points for using the 'economic crisis' to support some long held belief of yours!

It's all those damn Margaritavilles . . .

Re:Time to stop enabling spoiled brats (1, Interesting)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596115)

Damn, and I used all my mod points. You are sadly mistaken on your premise and the false conclusions you draw from it. Further more, you assume that hard-wired behavior is changeable. Pedophiles, who should be took out back and shot IMNSHO, are hard-wired to be attracted to children. They can not be re-wired. You may modify their behavior to an extent(BTW, my solution actually does modify their behavior) but you cannot alter their attraction to children. Also, your conclusions about addiction in general are totally contrary to what science has shown. By the logic of seeing negative consequences happen to others,and stopping behavior, is valid with non-addicts for the most part. With drug addicts, it is not. Have some junkie OD on a hot load, and the other junkies do not stop shooting dope. They actually try to find the source for the hot load so they can buy some, because it has to be good shit if such-and-such OD on it. So in closing, STFU and L2think, instead of spouting off your preconceived ideas.

Re:Sports addiction = games addiction (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596055)

>>>I've never heard of people staying up until 3am to kick a soccer ball

You've never heard of Olympians? Only difference, instead of staying up late, they get up early. 3 am in the morning; spend all day in the gym until suppertime, and go to bed. Someone like skater Michelle Kwan has been following that routine for ~20 years now. That's called "dedication" in the sport-loving media which profits off sports broadcasts, but it's really an addiction.

The fans are addicts too - dressing in weird clothes, spending thousands of dollars traveling around the country to follow the teams and/or buy huge wall-sized televisions to watch them late into the night. But for some reason we celebrate that addiction.

Eh? (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595623)

Yes they do. People HAVE died from taking sports to extremes. Long distance runners who die from exhaustion or getting lost. Weight lifters who are crushed under weights. What about racers who go just a bit to fast? Taking the sport to extremes, same as gaming for 18 hours is extreem.

Except that I gamed for longer then that this easter weekend and did NOT die. Sure, I took some brakes for the toilet but more or less spent a full day from dawn to past midnight in the game.

Anyway, wouldn't it be more logical to connect addiction to games to addiction to being a sports FAN (as in a watcher of sports)? Is Holland alone in coming to a standstill because of mysterious illness whenever the national team plays?

Re:Eh? (4, Funny)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595681)

I took some brakes for the toilet

Incidentally, how fast were you going on the toilet?

Re:Eh? (4, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595741)

Yes they do. People HAVE died from taking sports to extremes. Long distance runners who die from exhaustion or getting lost. Weight lifters who are crushed under weights. What about racers who go just a bit to fast? Taking the sport to extremes, same as gaming for 18 hours is extreem.

Golfers who have been killed by their wives for never being around, bowlers and softball players die of cirrhosis of the liver (the drink more than they play!), hunters who are shot by Vice Presidents, and then there's the tiddlywink players who are just killed for being sissies.

All sports can be rough!

Re:Sports addiction = games addiction (2, Insightful)

biocute (936687) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595635)

people don't die from playing sports for 18 hours a day.

Actually they can die from playing sports for 18 hours a day, but they won't because they will get tired before they can kill themselves.

Like smoking, it's a slow death because it's so subtle and enjoyable. I don't think any smokers would enjoy living in a room full of smokes though.

Re:Sports addiction = games addiction (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595795)

I don't think any smokers would enjoy living in a room full of smokes though.

You have obviously not lived in a communal setting while in college, or associated with those were enrolled at university.

media (4, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595447)

based on very little evidence. I think that is especially how the media often sells stories.

Really ?? I can't believe my eyes. /sarcasm.

Re:media (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595885)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently called the Internet a "cesspool" of false information. I think he was wrong. I think that the disinformation present on the internet is merely a reflection of the disinformation, poor reporting and outright lies which have become pervasive throughout the media industry.

My firm belief is that in an organisation, industry or society, the rot starts and the top and works its way down. When it comes to information and sensationalism, the national newspapers are the ones to blame for allowing standards to slip as far as they have. In their effort to fish for eyeballs they can sell to advertisers, they have allowed stories to be come more emotional, sensationalist and exaggerated, all while allowing accuracy, fact checking and the honest truth to fall by the wayside.

When it comes to video games or any other activity seen as "fringe", it's easy for newspapers to spin up a story demonising the games and the people who play them. They want eyeballs, and if associating video games with addictive substances like crack cocaine can get them some, then that is exactly what journalists and editors will do.

Keep in mind that most journalists nowadays, in the 20-35 age bracket, will probably have a games console and HD-TV in their home. They probably have a laptop and grab all the latest music, tv show and movie torrents. They probably (almost certainly) go clubbing, sleep around, drink heavily and take illegal drugs. Yet these very same people write stories and reports that demonise, sensationalise, vilify, and condemn every last one of these activities. They do this because it pays the money they need to fund the very lifestyles they are decrying.

This rot has started at the top. With the newspaper industry. We have allowed them, time and again, to publish rot such as "video game addiction" and get away with it, with not a pip of objection from anyone. The game industry has bent over backwards, creating highly conservative [slashdot.org] rating agencies like the ESRB to self censor its produce. While violence is par for the course,(albiet towards aliens, Nazis or zombies) swear words in video games remain unusual to this day; "Fuck" is still reserved for only a handful of titles, and I cannot recall a single instance of the word "cunt" in any title I have ever played. Sex in video games, simply does not happen. Even Rockstar cut out the Hot Coffee content.

But it's not enough. The media will never be satisfied. They will never acknowledge the extraordinary efforts which the video game industry has gone to to mainstream its content. To the media, video games represent an easy target, the attacking of which will produce enough of a spectacle to attract the eyeballs they need. Video games, and the people who play them, will never be given a break by a media industry that has become, in effect, a established and tyrannical bully, preying on those who cannot defend themselves for its own gain.

In short, newspapers are rotten. Stop reading them.

Re:media (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596231)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently called the Internet a "cesspool" of false information. I think he was wrong. I think that the disinformation present on the internet is merely a reflection of the disinformation, poor reporting and outright lies which have become pervasive throughout the media industry.

That doesn't mean he was wrong - it just means that everything else is a cesspool of false info too!

I cannot recall a single instance of the word "cunt" in any title I have ever played

I'm pretty sure The Darkness has it.

I don't see the big deal about all of this anyway. Some people are easily addicted/obsessed by things. I've spent periods in my life where I'd play Counter-Strike or MUD every night til 6AM. I think my Counter-Strike obsession was overtaken by a photography obsession, and strangely enough the 3 times in my life that I was addicted to MUDding, I ended up with a girlfriend a month or two later and ended up spending obsessive amounts of time with them instead of on the MUD (well apart from the first who was mudding with me for a while since it started off long-distance). Even more strangely, I've only ever had 3 girlfriends, so the pattern would indicate that MUDding somehow instantly makes me more attractive to women. I should really start MUDding again..!

Re:media (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596719)

Wow, very insightful, particularly the paragraph about no sex in games and the rarity of swearwords.

It used to be the same with TV I suppose, I mean the first gay kiss on British TV happened decades after the first television broadcast, and swearing used to be a lot rarer than it is these days. Like some of the poster's above have said, whatever the next big thing is it'll probably take the focus off games and allow a whole new generation of sensationalist media reports to flourish. I can see it now:

"3DTV allows ultra-realistic porn and violonce into your front room! Your kids can watch a man be murdered and sodomised as if it were actually happening! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"

"Virtual reality - turning your children into murderers, rapists and Democrats. More after The Simpsons".

Bring on the scientists (4, Insightful)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595451)

In TFA it mentions examples that have (or probably have) been used in the past to demonise computer games - the Chinese kid who killed for game money and that special American family who's son murdered his parents for taking Halo 3 away from him. The article (thankfully) mentions the probable underlying mental illnesses that contribute to these sorts of crimes, whereas the Jack Thompsons of the world see games as the cause of crime, rather than as a changeable variable that could have been television, film, a newspaper, food, a car, a curfew, and so on.

I'm extremely pleased to see increasing research in games and their effect on our minds. It would be naive to suggets that they don't have any affect on us at all, and I for one am interested in seeing some (hopefully) independent research with meaningful results.

Re:Bring on the scientists (2, Funny)

pickle_in_being (1522709) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595475)

''The article (thankfully) mentions the probable underlying mental illnesses that contribute to these sorts of crimes, whereas the Jack Thompsons of the world see games as the cause of crime, rather than as a changeable variable that could have been television, film, a newspaper, food, a car, a curfew, and so on.'' The changeable variable could be PEANUT BUTTER! In every criminal residence you may find games, but you will find peanut butter!

Re:Bring on the scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595525)

yup

if u r addicted to peanut butter, are drunk and it is kept away from you then u may commit a crime to get it

u may kill or steal it from someone

a young child may steal peanut butter from his friend and eat it if denied it at home

so anything and everything can be a cause of crime

Re:Bring on the scientists (4, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595807)

This is why we absolutely must legalize peanut butter. Help end the suffering; write your representative today.

Re:Bring on the scientists (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595733)

Given that Jack Thompson himself is evidently suffering from several mental disorders, and at least one of those precludes his forming a coherent, logical argument, I would no longer refer to his position in an argument except as the subject.

Besides, with him likely getting kicked out of Utah any day now, and nobody else willing to tolerate him, we'll soon need a new representative of the face of anti-gaming. Any slashdotters know of the next rising star in the "Focus on Fucking Up Other People's Lives" crowd?

Re:Bring on the scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595851)

Don't know about specific to games, but in general I do. It is called the government.

Re:Bring on the scientists (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595801)

whereas the Jack Thompsons of the world see games as the cause of crime

I thought he saw games as an opportunity for a paycheck in reward for his lobbying efforts to save the children. I'm confused now.

The Real Story (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595457)

The real story behind the growing wave of goatse [goatse.fr] addiction.

Not new (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595465)

People have played games for thousands of years. The only difference now is they've got more sophisticated. Even more recently, I remember people who were seriously addicted to RPGs in the 70's from Tunnels and Trolls through D&D to Traveller. People were muttering about video game addiction in the late 70's too and there's been a ton of research on it since then. I can't help but thnk this is just another case of someone really not being aware of the history of their pet subject.

Re:Not new (5, Interesting)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595515)

People have played games for thousands of years. The only difference now is they've got more sophisticated.

Sophisticated is one way of putting it. Another would be to point out they didn't spend thousands of hours grinding pawns so they could finally take down that bishop.

Re:Not new (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595553)

>Another would be to point out they didn't spend thousands of hours grinding pawns so they
> could finally take down that bishop.
Oh I don't know, there must have been some reason Atari was named after the Go equivelent of Checkmate. Those little stones must have taken some serious polishing.

Re:Not new (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595573)

No, but they did spend thousands of hours playing the games and reading books about it so they could beat other people... And that's just about the same thing.

People like to talk about how chess teaches you strategy. How much more does WoW teach you, then? It's quite a bit more complex and you are forced to interact with others and cannot perfectly control their actions. Hell, even Counter Strike has a lot of tactics.

Re:Not new (1, Redundant)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595661)

strategy != tactics. Strategy == long term plans, Tactics == short term reactive plans. That's what chess teaches you that WoW or Counterstrike doesn't.

Re:Not new (4, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595813)

The line between tactics and strategy is blurry. Chess primarily teaches you to play chess, it doesn't automatically make you better at long-term planning.

Re:Not new (0)

jotok (728554) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596327)

That is not the same thing at all.

In one you ACTUALLY LEARN SOMETHING.
In the other, you go through repetetive motions until you are awarded the status of having "learned something" in the game.

Re: Grinding Pawns... (2, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595575)

I don't know what mod your post deserves, so I'll post a Whoosh comment, but at least one that's not sarcastic.

We spend thousands of hours grinding *moves*, which includes pawns.

Re: Grinding Pawns... (1)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595667)

I don't know what mod your post deserves, so I'll post a Whoosh comment, but at least one that's not sarcastic.

We spend thousands of hours grinding *moves*, which includes pawns.

But would you be content taking a pawn, resetting the game one step back, and then repeating the move for hours on end? Would it provide the same false sense of progress?

No whoosh here :)

Re: Grinding Pawns... (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595819)

But would you be content taking a pawn, resetting the game one step back, and then repeating the move for hours on end? Would it provide the same false sense of progress?

Well, maybe if it improved my ELO rating...

Re:Not new (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595743)

I do know chess players who have spent thousands of hours practicing. Not sure what the difference is...

Re:Not new (1)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596387)

Sophisticated is one way of putting it. Another would be to point out they didn't spend thousands of hours grinding pawns so they could finally take down that bishop.

But the cheating bastard only moves diagonally! Nerf bishops! Pawns need love too!

Re:Not new (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595565)

People were muttering about video game addiction in the late 70's too and there's been a ton of research on it since then.

I can't seem to find much actual "research" on it though. Sure, there's a lot of newspaper reports about fat kids playing MMORPGs to the point of having no real life, and lots of articles with anecdotes and hearsay.

What we need is actual quantitative results in terms of changes in the brain, body chemistry, behaviour, routine, sleep patterns, social activities etc.

Re:Not new (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595857)

I think we need a little common sense. An obsession about anything is bad. If you spend hours and hours of your time _______ (gaming, watching TCM, taping music off the radio, drinking alcohol, polishing your car, playing cards, watching the stock market, ...) to the point where you end-up damaging your _____ (job, marriage, grades), then you have a problem.

At one point or another I've been addicted to most of the stuff in my list. The item I was obsessed with was the symptom, not the problem. The problem was me and lack-of-self control. Everything should be done in moderation.

Re:Not new (1)

localman (111171) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596569)

I do everything in moderation.

Help me! I'm addicted to moderation!

But seriously, excellent post. Whenever I have found myself obsessed over something it was usually because I was trying to avoid something else.

Cheers.

Re:Not new (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595949)

Sure, there's a lot of newspaper reports about fat kids playing MMORPGs to the point of having no real life

"Sure, there's a lot of newspaper reports about fat people having no real life"

There, fixed it for you.

Even better:

"Sure, there's a lot of newspaper reports about people having no real life"

Try to argue against either one ... they're both just as accurate/inaccurate/stupid/nonsense/insightful/trollish/whatever. Newspapers say anything that sells, because if they didn't they'd go out of business even quicker.

When's the last time you saw a newspaper that reported the truth on the mortgage crisis in big headlines - that, for example, when Firth did a study on a sample of mortgage applications, every single one of them had fraud and misrepresentations by the applicants, so that, far from deserving a bailout, your neighbours should be in jail for fraud?

I don't know what he has been reading but.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595499)

over 2 decades of experimental psychology research indicates that being exposed to violence leads to more violence. Practically every social psychology text book out there cites statistics that place violence in the media and increases in real world violence as the second strongest correlation we have - second only to smoking and lung cancer.

Research shows again and again that playing violent video game causes physiological desensitization upon viewing real world violence (e.g. videos of cops shooting people and prisoners shanking each other), violent video games increase aggressive behaviors in children, and that even the presence of a toy weapon in a room causes aggressive thought priming.

Re:I don't know what he has been reading but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595611)

sounds like you've been reading Craig Anderson, in fact the lung cancer example is a favorite trope of his that he thought up

Re:I don't know what he has been reading but.... (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595695)

How is it then, oh wise one, that so many kids have grown up with Tom and Jerry on TV, Rambo on VHS, Doom on the computer and a toy colt in the holsters at their hips and failed to go on violent rampages?

Do you not think that the stability of the individuals psyche would play a part in how one deals with violence?

Re:I don't know what he has been reading but.... (2, Informative)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595707)

Pls not to feed teh trolls. Kthxbai.

Re:I don't know what he has been reading but.... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595765)

One of the most violent games I ever played as a child was Walker (this was in the 80's):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoZxnQraJpE [youtube.com]

I honestly don't feel the urge to shoot up the neighborhood several hundred violent games later.

Re:I don't know what he has been reading but.... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595873)

So you CLAIM, but I want to see a citation that "practically every social psychology text book out there cites statistics that place violence in the media and increases in real world violence as the second strongest correlation"... ...otherwise I will consider your comment as fictional. Urban legend not fact.

Re:I don't know what he has been reading but.... (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596189)

Almost every text book out there is influenced by liberal nanny government, anti-capitalism ideology also. My religion textbook has countless questions asking how could ______ (primitive,eastern,aboriginal,islam; everything but xianity)be applied to modern technological society in order to stop the relentless environmental damages and unfairness of the current system. So quoting or referring to those texts is stupid and false. It is quite similar to me referring to the bible in an arguement about the existence of gawd."Look, right there in the bible it says gawd created the earth. See, gawd exists."

Re:I don't know what he has been reading but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27596405)

s/psychology/astrology/g

It's all hocus pocus.

Re:I don't know what he has been reading but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27596455)

Exposure to violence may lead to more violence but computer games do not expose one to violence. They expose one to simulated violence. So the point is irrelevant.

Violent games may or may not cause desensitization to real-world violence but all your experiments show is that they cause desensitization to violence on TV. You can tell the subjects that the violence on TV is "real" but it's not real, it's a picture, and the only reality behind it is you telling them it's real and them (perhaps) believing you.

This is a WHOLE different ballgame to actual real-world violence experienced in the flesh, which cannot ethically be studied at all, ergo you can't say one way or another.

Perhaps you should examine this elephant in the room before saying the evidence we have means what you like to think it means.

Re:I don't know what he has been reading but.... (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596529)

If only I'd known that before. Lets do a little social experiment. Let's confiscate all the TVs, CD players, and computers in north central Africa. Surely if they are no longer exposed to such a vile catalyst, all their violence problems will work themselves out...

Well (2, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595511)

I could tell you the real story behind gaming addiction but I need to lvl up my human mage to lvl 80.

Re:Well (1)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595539)

I could tell you the real story behind gaming addiction but I need to lvl up my human mage to lvl 80.

Unless it's your sixth+ alt, your implied addiction has been rejected ;-)

Absurd (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595533)

That's PEW PEW ridiculous. I can PEW PEW PEW stop PEW PEW whenever I want PEW PEW PEW to.

Re:Absurd (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596179)

What game does this refer to? Space Channel 5?

addiction is misleading (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595555)

see here is the issue: many times these game worlds (uo, eq, wow)offer a more fun experience than you could have otherwise outside of it for many people. it takes money to have fun in life; to travel, to club, et al to the rest.

yes, you can work harder to make more money to do these things, but it's not always that simple. a steady income during the day, log into a dragonslayer at night is too enticing for many people, and why not? it makes sense for them to do so. the alternative is not as appealing, whether that be watching tv, reading a book, or even improving yourself to make that money in order to have that type of fun.

because, let's be honest here, improving yourself doesn't necessarily more financial success. it might, but it doesn't always. so what path is more guaranteed to provide 'fun' for the average person?

i would probably say dragon slayer.

Re:addiction is misleading (1)

jotok (728554) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596421)

Sure, for a given definition of "fun."

I find most games highly derivative and boring. WoW especially. I would rather read or putter around in my garden in my free time.

Symptom, not a cause. (5, Interesting)

YouDoNotWantToKnow (1516235) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595567)

My view on gaming addiction is that, just like any other form of escapism, it is merely a symptom caused by various physical, psychological and social factors. In many cases, the subject would be addicted to something (possibly more harmful like drugs or gambling) anyways so the addiction is actually "good for him" in a certain sense. You can just grow up from gaming, unlike booze or crack.

Re:Symptom, not a cause. (2, Interesting)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596127)

I really wish I had mod points for you. I think this hits the nail on the head. I used to use games to hide from my problems, so I do have an idea what it's like. Now that I have my life together, it's not such an issue.

Everyone I've known who's had an addiction had some sort of stress that led them to it. We need to address those original problems first, then deal with the games. Though, I suspect a good number of those people will work it out naturally with the outside stress under control.

felonious 'bankers' use your tax $$$$.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595571)

to prop up the price of their funny (phony) payper.

unprecedented evile never sleeps.

no matter, all we're really here for anyway is to take care of one another. failing that, (which we're prone to do) we're just passing through, being distracted/consumed by the trappings of man'kind'.

no need to confuse religion, with being a spiritual being. the lights are coming up all over now. better days ahead.

I believe it because it it male dominated (5, Insightful)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595581)

I find it very curious how addiction studies focus mainly on male dominated activities. I am sure if females did it it would not be called an addiction.

Shoe fetishism is rarely called an addiction but I have seen women who spend their whole selves looking for the ugliest shoes.

Re:I believe it because it it male dominated (2, Funny)

Swizec (978239) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595633)

Damn if only I could mod you insightful.

Instead I'll say you're being sexist! Don't you realise women are perfect and deserve special treatment? Stop living in a hole you anti-feminisim dirty pig!

Re:I believe it because it it male dominated (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595693)

Don't you realise women are perfect

      Then tell me why they bleed every month...

Re:I believe it because it it male dominated (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595923)

>>>Don't you realise women are perfect and deserve special treatment?

Actually you're not far from the truth. Women are "perfect" in the eyes of the mega-corporations because they spend a lot of money shopping. Therefore a shoe addiction is not advertised as an addiction, but as a hobby or "pleasure" or "fashionable" on the morning talk shows and other corporate sources.

Re:I believe it because it it male dominated (5, Insightful)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596043)

But a girl who spends 18 hours a day playing WoW is even more anomalous than a guy doing the same. A guy who does that is "just a nerd," where a girl doing that has "serious problems" and needs help, asap. Dorm RAs will try to intervene and get the girl involved in the dorm bake sale next week, but completely ignore the guys in the next room who haven't stopped playing Halo (or showered) in three days.

Also, god damn it's hard to find a pair of regular, black, work-appropriate shoes that don't have 4 inch heels or are ugly as sin. Few things infuriate me more than shoe shopping.

/female

Shopaholic? (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595641)

Compulsive shopping is most certainly regonized as an adiction. As for OCD, that is often called a woman's disease.

And gaming hasn't been male dominated for a long time. According to some survey's there are even more female gamers then male gamers.

Certainly in the MMO I play voicechat seems to be female roughly 1/3 to 1/2 the time. Considering that some females might be reluctant to reveal their are females online and the percentage of females playing Lotro might be as high as half the population if not more.

Stop being such a sexist prick.

Re:Shopaholic? (2, Funny)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595659)

Yeah but, come on... it's voice chat. Of course it'll be dominated by women.

(Kidding!! Sorry honey...)

Re:Shopaholic? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595975)

>>>Stop being such a sexist prick.

I enjoyed reading your post until I reached this part. It wasn't necessary to use the insult to make your point. ----- So you say 1/3 to 1/2 of all gamers are women? All the women I've talked to have little interest in games and look at me as if I'm strange (about the same look when I discuss Star Trek). Just from observation, it appears the videogaming is dominated by 95% men with just a few gals scattered here-and-there... like it's always been.

Re:Shopaholic? (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596723)

All the women I've talked to have little interest in games and look at me as if I'm strange (about the same look when I discuss Star Trek). Just from observation, it appears the videogaming is dominated by 95% men with just a few gals scattered here-and-there... like it's always been.

Surveys of your friends does not make accurate data. I'm a girl gamer and all of my female friends play games, but I don't go around saying 100% of women in general play games. Though I doubt it could just be that I happen to only be friends w/ the "5%" - someone has to be buying all those Hannah Montana and nintendogs ripoffs on DS, and I doubt it's men/boys.

There's been a number of studies over years showing that women gamers are a sizable group and growing. Here's one example: Women Gamers Outnumber Men in 25-34 Age Group [gamedaily.com] . Really, you're kinda out of the loop here, thinking that maybe 5% of gamers are women.

Re:Shopaholic? (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596203)

Certainly, there are more female gamers now than before, but keep in mind that it will vary depending on the type of game. This is purely what I've seen and is not to be taken as fact, but I generally see a smaller percentage of female players in the games I play (one's an old FPS, and the others are strategy games).

I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong, but I think we should take into account variations between game genres.

Re:I believe it because it it male dominated (1)

pr100 (653298) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595663)

There are plenty of female heroin addicts and alcoholics...

Re:I believe it because it it male dominated (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595789)

Try Facebook. Seriously. Not just women, mind you, but more than play CS.

Shocking! (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595627)

People with opinions at the extreme ends of the spectrum might not be right, and the truth lies somewhere in between? Please, give me more of this brilliant analysis.

Re:Shocking! (1)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595683)

Yes, but it's good to see that a reasonable and level-headed position is being entertained on Gamespot. If the gaming community as a whole can grow up a little (I know, I know, but bear with me here) and present itself as the reasonable party in this debate, it may do wonders for the credibility of their argument of "it's just another medium; stop scape-goating".

Personally I'm very pleased to see this article published. I think it'll be a moot point in 10 years or so anyway, as more people grow up with roots in gaming culture and a familiarity with the arguments, but the voice of reason can never be heard too often.

New, poorly understood media, are scary (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595665)

So far, everything that our youth had a fascination with and was hardly, if at all, understood by parents has been demonized and blamed for all sorts of problems.

Think back (ok, read up in your history books) about so called "bad books". Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn twisted and warped young minds in ways that are all too similar to what is now attributed to games. They set bad examples, they make kids act out what they read, they have no moral, show no ill effects of bad behaviour... then the kids that read those books grew up and, lo and behold, they didn't turn out to be maniacs and generally unfit to lead a normal life. The hype dwindled down, and now it's part of "America's cultural heritage".

Fast forwards to radio. It was new, it was exciting, kids (and even some adults) spent hours in front of the box listening. When Wells' "War of the Worlds" was broadcast, people went into hysteria. And promptly, the radio was the source of all evil. It would cause us to be unable to discriminate between fiction and fact, it would twist our poor minds and warp us... guess what, the radio generation grew up, they didn't turn out to be morons, and the hype went away.

TV was next. The picture boxes that ruined our eyes (ok, those old ones maybe did), that showed us braindead stories and turned us all into zombies. The TV generation grew up...

D&D. Anyone remember Patricia Pulling [wikipedia.org] , the Jack Thompson of the 80s? Yet D&D gamers grew up and they don't run amok in our streets fighting imaginary orcs and dragons.

Now it's games. And the gamers will grow up and we'll find out that it's not so bad... in other words, just give it time. In 10 years, nobody's gonna talk about it anymore. But don't worry. We'll find a new scapegoat when our kids go nuts due to poor parenting and mobbing in schools.

Re:New, poorly understood media, are scary (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595721)

And interestingly enough, whether it's correlation or causation, the human populace has grown stupider and stupider (in general) with every generation ever since just before the first newspaper generation.

Mass media - it will make you stupid, no matter what form it takes.

Re:New, poorly understood media, are scary (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595747)

On the other hand, name a subject where mainstream public discourse is thoughtful and reasonable... It's not just the new and scary things, it seems like people just pick opinions on everything based on what their gut feeling and social circles tell them they should feel like about it and "discussion" in the media is several people like this beating each other over the head. There's no give and take, the issues don't even matter, it's proving the other guy wrong that's important.

Re:New, poorly understood media, are scary (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595825)

Unfortunately, "discussion" changed its meaning. Earlier it was "evaluating the other side's arguments, offering counterarguments, finding a common ground and something both sides can work with". Today it's "show them idiots that I AM RIGHT!"

And I'm not only talking about afternoon talkshows and newsgroup flamewars. I even see it in scientific communities where I used to have very insightful discussions that actually ran along the original meaning. Both sides offered arguments that the other side could understand, both sides evaluated the other side's arguments, some were good, some were bad, some were better than mine, some were something I could accept as a compromise... and in the end, we walked away with something that both sides could accept.

Today, even in circles that you'd expect to be a wee bit more sophisticated than the guest lineup of the average Springer show, you are faced with people that want to impress you with their (often enough false) use of technical terms and jargon to show you just how stupid you are that you can't simply accept their point of view as the only truth.

It kinda saddens me. When did "being able to compromise" become "being too soft to get it your way"?

Re:New, poorly understood media, are scary (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595763)

..."bad books"...

...radio...

TV was next. The picture boxes that ruined our eyes (ok, those old ones maybe did), that showed us braindead stories and turned us all into zombies. The TV generation grew up...

...and now the planet is overrun with complete idiots. I think you just broke your own argument.

Re:New, poorly understood media, are scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27595823)

...and now America is overrun with complete idiots. I think you just broke your own argument.

fix'd

Re:New, poorly understood media, are scary (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596001)

It all comes back to control.

Some people, for whatever reason, think they have a moral obligation to tell us how we should live our lives (don't watch tv, don't play D&D, don't smoke marijuana, don't drink beer, don't have sex). I'm sick of their bullshit, and I think we should viciously lash them as petit-tyrants trying to take-away liberty.

Re:New, poorly understood media, are scary (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596113)

True, and I wonder where that urge comes from. Why do people feel the need to tell me (or whoever) how to live my life? Because their self imposed morals or religion tells them that doing what I want to do is wrong and they're jealous that they aren't allowed to do it?

Umm... how about dumping your moral code if that's what bothers you? Basically, if you are jealous of me doing what you would like to do but are not allowed to because of a moral code that you put upon yourself, the moral code is what is the problem. Not me. If you're not jealous then, well, what's your problem? I'm doing something you don't like. Ok. Did I force it upon you? If so, ok, valid point, I'll stop forcing it on you (sorry, didn't mean to). If I'm not, then how the hell is it your business?

Re:New, poorly understood media, are scary (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596503)

Yet D&D gamers grew up and they don't run amok in our streets fighting imaginary orcs and dragons

Wrong. The nerds actually do do this, only it usually happens in city parks (but you have to go to the "secret ravine" to see them). I saw an ad for some repo show and the guy showed up when they were playing "wizards" or whatever the hell you call it. One lady kept trying to cast a spell on the repo guy... I didn't catch the show, but I am sure it didn't work. BTW, it was a prius he was repoing; I thought that was fitting.

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595705)

How is it then, oh wise one, that so many kids have grown up with Tom and Jerry on TV, Rambo on VHS, Doom on the computer and a toy colt in the holsters at their hips and failed to go on violent rampages?Do you not think that the stability of the individuals psyche would play a part in how one deals with violence?

Funny thing ... (5, Interesting)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595735)

If I was a kid, and ended up practising and playing tennis or golf for the majority of my day, got really good, was able to compete and win tournaments and make money, I would be considered a natural, a child prodigy with a promising future.

Likewise, if I played chess every day for as long as possible, got really good and started competing and winning tournaments internationally, making money etc. I would be seen as a great example of skill etc.

If I live and breathe business, every hour of every day, driving myself to make a fortune, to become wealthy and successful, I would be applauded.

Hey, be addicted to real drugs and write incredible novels, poetry, or music, and you'll be applauded for it.

So, if a kid spent the majority of his waking day playing games, gets exceptionally good at it, and was able to enter tournaments, win prize money, travel the world etc., would we then talk about his addiction, or would we be talking about his achievement?

It seems to me that what really matters is the result of your "addiction", and the public's perception in terms of its "worth", not the fact that you're addicted. These stories about "game addiction" look at the worst examples and apply them to all, and that makes as much sense as looking at a sports star who burns himself out as an example of what sport does to you.

Most of this is likely spurred by the opinion that gaming is simply a waste of time. When the value of gaming (in terms of wealth generation, improving mental ability, skill etc.) increases/becomes more well known, the less we'll hear about the evils of game addiction. So, bring on more studies to look at gaming's benefits, and bring on more investment into pro-gaming.

Re:Funny thing ... (4, Interesting)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595879)

I think that many of these "addictions" you list can be considered harmful, actually. There are far more child prodigy instrumentalists out there than there are job openings for them. For every one that is lauded for his achievements, seen as a great example of skill etc. there are ten people who have spent an extreme amount of effort for very little return. This is why it's cruel to try to lead your child down that path.

Music is the crown example. But it's very much the case with chess, sports, novels, etc.

I think people would be happier if the ideals of Amateurism made a comeback. We might even get better art in some ways.

Re:Funny thing ... (2, Interesting)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596309)

The problem with that, though, is that not everyone has the ability to be a professional, be it tennis, chess, or videogames. Think of all the college athletes who were the star in high school, did well in college, then fell into a job selling cars or whatever. As Vintermann said, there are only so many slots open for professional players. It's fine to practice and be good at things, but not to the detriment of other aspects of your life.

Also, keep in mind that games are much more accessible than the others. If I pick up any relatively modern/popular game, I can play all hours of the day or night without any real difficulty. It'd be much harder to find a challenging opponent to play tennis or chess with for that many hours a day. In that way, those are self-regulating.

you paint a rather naive picture (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596555)

in all of the endeavours you mention, 99% of people don't make any success in the field

and this bit is especially ridiculous:

"Hey, be addicted to real drugs and write incredible novels, poetry, or music, and you'll be applauded for it."

nobody takes drugs and makes great art. rather, some great artists, after already having great talent, enter a stage of self-destructive hubris, and start wasting their talent on drugs. classic correlation!=causation

your understanding of the relationship between art and drugs is kind of like the cargo cults of the south pacific: that if you build bamboo control towers and bamboo radar arrays, airplanes full of cargo will magically appear out of the sky. saying that taking drugs will let you make art is exactly the same sort if foolishness

Re:you paint a rather naive picture (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596747)

Really? Tell that to Hunter S. Thompson ;)

Joking aside, I do get your point. Don't think I worded it correctly. The assumption is not that the drug gave them great art. The point is that the fact that their output or "end result" made the question of addiction far less important and/or emphasised. It was simply not an issue because there was some form of value attached to the addictive behaviour.

Games vs TV (5, Interesting)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595781)

I suspect this may come across as slightly trollish, but hear me out:

The principle difference between gaming and TV is interaction - a higher level of engagement or involvement, and thus immersion, that a passive medium like TV can't surpass.

When discussing addiction, I think it's worth noting that - according to the criteria used by most detractors - TV is also addictive. However, it is not considered harmful enough to be of equivalent concern. You're not likely to die from all-night sessions of Battlestar Galactica or whatever.

I think the real issue is about more than just addiction though. I think it's down to the level of passivity or activity required to engage with the medium, and the control over the experience.
TV viewing, by its very nature, trains us to passively accept whatever is fed to us. It's in the nature for society to accept and promote whatever maintains the status-quo - a survival trait, if you will - and something which encourages passivity is ultimately a benefit to that. There are also mechanisms for controlling the viewer's experience - you can't choose to change the ending to a film, for example.
Gaming, on the other hand, requires engagement, activity, evaluation and decision-making, even in its more basic forms. It also trains people not to let things be, but to strive to overcome obstacles and improve their environment. Whether this encourages socially positive or negative actions depends on the type of game in which the person engages, which in turn is influenced by their social predisposition. It enhances rather than suppresses their psychological traits. There is also less opportunity for control over the medium - the way in which a person experiences the game - and so it could be a threat to social and societal stability.

(I invite you to don your tin-foil hat in response to the above paragraph, but I've tried to avoid making a conspiratorial point.)

It's no surprise that gaming has a highly addictive potential to those who are thus predisposed. The question is; would such an addiction be a problem? Where TV addiction is generally harmless to others, I think games serve to enhance the strengths and weaknesses already imbued in individuals by our society. The root causes of game-influenced behaviour are therefore much more fundamental than the game itself, and blaming games for the actions of individuals who are already thinking far outside the accepted norms of morality is a bit short-sighted.

Re:Games vs TV (1)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595909)

I think the real issue is about more than just addiction though. I think it's down to the level of passivity or activity required to engage with the medium, and the control over the experience.

I am still in High school and i argue with my parents with this exact argument. Video Games are better than TV because when you watch TV u are sitting aroung on your ass collecting dust, Video Games when made well can be just as entertaining as TV exept that most games Ex. Ledgend of zelda are traditionaly very long taking +40 hours

Re:Games vs TV (3, Insightful)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596081)

Your parents have a very good counterargument:

You need to turn off the console and do your English homework. Games are a wonderful distraction and far more engaging and active than watching TV, but you shouldn't do either to the extent that you ignore homework and study, as you so obviously have.

Not inherently addictive (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595831)

Before we start blaming the latest Scapegoat Flavor of the Month (games, television, comics, that devil invention radio, the interwebs, those swinging rock n' roller Elvis hips) we need to ask ourselves this: when someone becomes addicted to [something], is there something missing in their lives that this addiction happens to be artificially replacing? If the cause of the addiction is not explored, treating the symptoms becomes that much harder - if not impossible. Now excuse me while I go farm more gold for my level 80 mage.

so we trust gamespot now? (1)

peaceful_bill (661382) | more than 4 years ago | (#27595861)

I thought the entire internet unanimously agreed to boycott gamespot for firing editors because they didn't write good reviews for a big advertiser?

Did that all get cleared up?

/afk Documentary (1)

dthigpen (651006) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596053)

Greg Stuetze is currently creating a documentary covering the topic, /afk. You can learn more about it at http://www.afkthefilm.com/ [afkthefilm.com] (I am in no way involved with it)

if any of you have played civilization (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596453)

you know that video game addiction exists

i don't know if it's just a certain kind of mentality that can't escape this sort of absorbing foray into micromanagement, but for me, it was basically an experience of "just one more turn"... i look down, the sun is setting... i look up, and the sun is coming up

how the hell did that happen?

i had to destroy the cd the game came on, if i wanted to keep a relationship and a job

Someone who did some actual research into gaming (1)

Gaian-Orlanthii (1032980) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596471)

Nick Yee
http://www.nickyee.com/ [nickyee.com] I came across this guy's work about six years ago when I took part in a survey on.... MMO addiction. I'm surprised no-one seems to have mentioned him so far.

addiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27596567)

Games are in no way addicting...
As an afterthought, the only reason why I have time to read/reply to this is because WoW is down thanks to a horribad patch.

Addicted to game, or addicted to escapism? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#27596677)

Are "game addicts" really addicted to gaming per se?

Maybe they are addicted to high-adrenaline activities.

Maybe they are just bored or frustrated and looking for something to do, and when they are denied that "something" - whatever it is - they show symptoms normally associated with withdrawal.

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