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Does anyone also think that gaming addiction is way more common than statistics tell us?


Rudianos
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Hello everyone! Today I came across this thought because of my surroundings. Long story short: I suspect that one person out of my five friends may have this addiction, so the number is different from official (1% out of 100).

What are your thoughts on this case?

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As far as I can tell, almost everyone (especially in light of the pandemic) seems to be reliant on games (or at least game related media) in some sense or another at the very least for community. Even the sporty "Chads" game regularly nowadays. 

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Honestly, I have seen many games where it was routine to see people playing more than 10 hours a day. I really doubt that they are all able to moderate successfully, without damaging their life in some way.
But the problem is that time spent isn't the only metric to take into account. I was addicted way before spending a lot of time on the games. When you begin to think about your games outside of the game (something that was quite frequent in the real life circles I was in), that's where the orange flags begin.

It's also very hard to define, because at the end of the day, whether you play 1 minute per week or 3 hours, there is only one person who can decide whether it is REALLY detrimental or not: the player himself.
Another thing making it hard to quantify is that we don't have the full context, we can't see the whole story. Someone who played 10 hours yesterday could have done this as a "once every 30 years" thing or it could be a daily thing. Or maybe, they are already satisfied with the state of their lives and don't care about stagnating a little bit.

But I think that it's like smartphone, internet, social media addictions and the likes. Very underreported and underrated problem.

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On 3/24/2021 at 3:28 PM, Rudianos said:

Hello everyone! Today I came across this thought because of my surroundings. Long story short: I suspect that one person out of my five friends may have this addiction, so the number is different from official (1% out of 100).

What are your thoughts on this case?

Arround 50% of the world population do have internet access. A even smaller ammount (arround 10-15%) are playing video games. Even a smaller ammount do play them regularily.

While the numbers increased in the last years seeing so many video gamers in your surroundings is a social effect impacting your location not everyone arround your country.

It really depends if your living in a city or if you have good places for sport etc.

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It's hard to say. I had many gamer friends and still have some friends who game and no one of them seems to struggle with it as I do. They waste time on it sure. But not in such a harmful way then I do.
But of course, that's only one data point. It depends on how the statistics are measured. I guess the statistics are created by asking people how they feel about their gaming habits. Everyone in denial of his problem won't show up there. If they do it by measuring the time spent on games its quite possible that they measured too much game addicts because it's quite possible to play a lot without harming yourself.

In the end it doesn't matter. How many is not the right question. The right question is: Is gaming addiction a real thing? My opinion: Yes. It is a real problem for some people (me included). People with this problem should get access to help. This forum is one way to receive this help.

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I've often wondered this myself. In alcoholic addiction, you often hear the term "functional addict." It's someone who is addicted and yet is still able to keep their job, have a family, etc. This doesn't mean it is healthy, nor that their functionality is effective, just that they are able to keep themselves afloat.

I think there are many functioning addicts in the gaming world. I have a few friends in their thirties who have children and jobs and play regularly. With the amount I hear about them playing and see them playing, I am always baffled at how they can still get good grades (we are in graduate school, but finishing soon) and have a functioning family. I don't get to see home life, so maybe it's worse than I think or maybe it's totally fine. It just boggles my mind because, trying to do the math on the gaming time vs other responsibilities, I don't see how it works. That's why I suspect some people may indeed be functioning addicts. They talk about gaming all the time, they move quickly from one game to the next (that's partially why I stopped playing casually with them; I would buy a game at their behest, thinking it would be a good social time, and we would literally play it twice before they moved on to something else -- it was a waste of money for me). They have the latest gear and are constantly upgrading. But if you ask them what it is, they say, "It's just a hobby." And maybe it is, I don't know. But I suspect there are many more functional game addicts than statistics would have us believe (which is why addiction is probably underreported). 

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8 hours ago, James Good said:

 So many people are dependent on video games, and will do everything they can to defend them if you say something negative about it.

I always felt a kind of dissonance watching videos on a gaming YouTube channel in which the commentator would flatly deny that gaming is addictive . . . even while reporting "weird" gaming news stories about people who destroyed their lives or their health playing games. He seemed to want to say that some people "have a problem" with games, while at the same time denying that games themselves might be the source of the problem.

It's kind of like blaming the victim, all to uphold the reputation of games as such.

Edited by Zeno of Elea
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11 hours ago, James Good said:

It 100% is.

Most people are blown away when I tell them over 50% of the world's adult population play video games - that's almost 2.5 billion people. The official statistics state around 3% of gamers suffer from addiction, meaning 75 million people are addicted, which is a crazy amount!

And honestly I think it's even more than 3%. So many people are dependent on video games, and will do everything they can to defend them if you say something negative about it.

3% happens to be the official gambling addiction incidence. Also, many minors are playing games, and according to research, in twenty years, the average playtime has doubled among minors. Of 75 million US children, a 2003 study documents 36% as gamers. Of that number, at least 0.75 million US minors are video game addicts. The APA officially only acknowledges online gaming addiction, so the indidence rate is likely underreported in the US. Gaming adoption among youth is also much higher than twenty years ago, so the real number of addicts is likely ~1.5 (+- 0.5) million US minors.

The gaming industry knows their games are addicting. They even consult leading psychologists on addictive designs and methodologies. Minors are contending with a market almost as dangerous as the gambling industry, but without regulation. The US needs regulation to prevent the worse forms of child exploitation.

Many alcoholics typically deny their addiction until their family confronts them and coerces strongly encourages them to seek professional help. Then supports them through the recovery process. The APA and gaming industry, by shifting blame, are effectively denying millions of addicts the treatment they need. I told a clinical psychologist of my addiction three years ago. The "expert" in the room asked the lazy question, "do you play mmos." I said, "I have in the past and I don't anymore due to the time demands, but I still have this problem with my Steam account." She told me point blank I'm not suffering addiction despite my 120+ two weekly gameplay average, then refused to help me. The morale of the story: video game victims will not officially receive the help they need until the APA breaks lockstep with the gaming industry and reaffirms the WHO's official stance; video gaming addiction, not exclusively online gaming addiction.

We should make controversy by petitions on change.org and boycotting game publishers. Sorry this post sidetracks the thread, however, I infer from other posts contrary viewpoints. It's important not to victimshame addicts, many of whom became addicted by an unregulated gaming industry that targets them as minors, according to industry insiders.

Source:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5761323/ (primary source)

https://theconversation.com/the-business-of-addiction-how-the-video-gaming-industry-is-evolving-to-be-like-the-casino-industry-83361 (must read)

 

Edited by ArcaneCoder
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54 minutes ago, ArcaneCoder said:

The "expert" in the room asked the lazy question, "do you play mmos." I said, "I have in the past and I don't anymore due to the time demands, but I still have this problem with my Steam account." She told me point blank I'm not suffering addiction despite my 120+ two weekly gameplay average, then refused to help me. The morale of the story: video game victims will not officially receive the help they need until the APA breaks lockstep with the gaming industry and reaffirms the WHO's official stance; video gaming addiction, not exclusively online gaming addiction.

In the mean time, here we are in DIY recovery.

"Hi. My name is Bob. I'm a game addict."

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I think many people don‘t consider themselves addicted even though they are.  It is viewed as „cool“ to game 6+h a day nowadays. People in the internet (especially on reddit) surround themselves with people that have the same habits / problems, so they think it‘s normal. 3 years ago I was also in denial, I always blamed my problems on other things in my life. I never had the idea, that gaming could be the problem. And seeing how much my online friends played, I thought it was completely normal.

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2 hours ago, Julon said:

I think many people don‘t consider themselves addicted even though they are.  It is viewed as „cool“ to game 6+h a day nowadays. People in the internet (especially on reddit) surround themselves with people that have the same habits / problems, so they think it‘s normal. 3 years ago I was also in denial, I always blamed my problems on other things in my life. I never had the idea, that gaming could be the problem. And seeing how much my online friends played, I thought it was completely normal.

A fair point. It's as though someone denied being an alcoholic on the grounds that everyone else drinking alone at the bar at 2am says that alcohol really isn't a problem.

Edited by Zeno
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It's not an official DSM diagnosis, so yes, absolutely. I work in healthcare and I see a number of clients for whom I assess a large part of their mental well-being to have been appropriated by video games, but I can't diagnose with anything like "video game addiction," because it's not recognized by the medical community as an official diagnosis. If I want to get paid (reimbursed by insurance), I have to diagnose with something else.

Edited by codepants
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7 hours ago, codepants said:

It's not an official DSM diagnosis, so yes, absolutely. I work in healthcare and I see a number of clients for whom I assess a large part of their mental well-being to have been appropriated by video games, but I can't diagnose with anything like "video game addiction," because it's not recognized by the medical community as an official diagnosis. If I want to get paid (reimbursed by insurance), I have to diagnose with something else.

Wow, that is fucked up. A different diagnosis means, that they also wont get the correct treatment right?

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On 4/5/2021 at 4:16 PM, Julon said:

Wow, that is fucked up. A different diagnosis means, that they also wont get the correct treatment right?

Great question. It depends, but in many cases, they will. For instance, I have a client who was brought in by his mom because he had temper tantrums when it was time to get off video games. I billed insurance for a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) (basically means client disagrees and fights with authority a lot) and worked with the mom on how to set and enforce boundaries around video games in a healthier way. Even though the diagnosis (ODD) doesn't say anything about video games, I as the provider know what's up so that's the work that I do.

It becomes a problem with providers that are too diagnosis-focused. I am guilty of this! I have a client who for 5-6 months of treatment I was treating him for ADHD. Now yes, this client absolutely does have ADHD... but my treatment wasn't really working. I decided to gather more diagnostic information and discovered this client has trouble focusing in school because he's awake at night playing video games and asleep (either literally or metaphorically) during the day. He regularly stays up until 4 AM or sometimes 8 AM playing video games. I don't know if I wasn't asking the right questions at first or if he didn't trust me enough to tell me, but now we know the problem is more about video games causing lack of sleep and less about ADHD (though that still plays a role), treatment can be more effective. Providers make mistakes just like all other humans.

Would treatment for video game addiction be more effective if "Video Game Use Disorder" was a billable diagnosis? Probably. Certainly there would be more awareness, more accurate statistics, and more funding for research into etiology and treatment. Are there ways around it? Yes, absolutely. Are there loads of other reason individuals who abuse video games don't get the treatment they need? Also yes, absolutely.

There's no silver bullet. I wish there was.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/14/2021 at 8:39 PM, Notaproblem said:

How can gaming become an addiction?

Hyperarousal also can be triggered by a release of dopamine, the feel-good chemical that’s released in the brain when we experience success or achievement. It’s the same dopamine release process that triggers addiction to video games, screens and chemicals, such as alcohol.

An addiction is defined as an individual’s inability to control use of a substance or behavior in spite of negative consequences and functional impairment in life. Many children and adults who engage in screen/video game use to the exclusion of other normal activities fall dangerously close to meeting this definition.

But if you can control yourself, it would not be a problem.

I would argue that anything can become an addiction. Some things just have an easier time getting at our "wiring" because they produce more dopamine or they produce it more rapidly.

It's not just about control. In the US, according to the DSM, an addiction is defined as meeting at least 3 of the following criteria (depending on the substance), with the severity of the addition increasing with the number of criteria met:

  1. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.

  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control use of the substance

  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use it, or recover from its effects.

  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use the substance.

  5. Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.

  6. Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance.

  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.

  8. Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.

  9. Substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.

  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a) A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect, or b) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.

  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance b) The substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

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