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Online Games Addiction: The Crude Reality

Online Games Addiction: The Crude RealityYeah, it is. When someone tells you’re an MMO addict, you usually answer them with “nay, there’s no such thing like a video game addiction” and go play World of Warcraft. And at that point you are absolutely… wrong! Since the news of WOW hitting “12 millions of players” mileage had come, i feel i should start getting onto my blog’s main theme – what games do to make you play day and night and spent money. So, i’m starting with this not-quite-a-newsflash, that might still passed unheard by some players. You should know: addiction to MMO games is a crude reality.

There was a study published in Journal of Psychiatric Research concerning gamers and drug addicts, it was commented on via Internets, but not widely re-published. And no wonder, who would agree on a point that when they play another MMO they’re just like these guys smoking pot on a street. When an addicted gamer feel an urge to play, his brain shows activity patterns almost identical to those of drug addicts wanting another dose. Authors of the study found, that both addiction types “share the same neu­ro­bi­o­log­i­cal mech­a­nis­m” and try to call attention to abnormal amounts of time people in different countries put into gaming instead of their career, health and family care.

Particular interest raised World of Warcraft which seems to have a special draw on players (of course it does, it’s the biggest MMO out there). Chih-Hung Ko of Kao­hsiung Med­i­cal Uni­ver­s­ity Hos­pi­tal in Tai­wan and his col­leagues (who worked on this study) had compared two groups of WOW players – first group was marked as addicted to this MMORPG, and the second group was non-addicts. They all had their brain scanned while they were shown a variety of pictures, including WOW screenshots. Which of course made addicts want to play it, and several of their brain areas lit up showing activity on the scan, and the final re­sults show that “cue-induced” urges to play a game draw on a net­work of brain path­ways “si­m­i­lar to that of the cue-induced crav­ing in sub­stance de­pend­ence,” Ko and his col­leagues wrote. The researches also noted that the same brain regions “have been re­ported to con­trib­ute to the crav­ing in sub­stance de­pend­ence” in past stud­ies. Is gaming an addiction?

Which means there’s a real addiction that forms then people do drugs or even smoke. Smoking is much more tolerated than drugs because yes, it’s unhealthy, but you won’t drop dead after several months. Nor when you play online games. But, as with smoking, it’s not healthy when a kid spends his whole free time sitting with PC or gaming console, and if his parents think it’s better than if he’d go smoking like “these bad kids in his school”, they really should think closer.

Okay, i know that comparing online games to smoking is stupid :) but what other simple example that everyone know about can i take for the comparison? Now, when we know that online games can be addictive, next time I’ll write more detailed article on how to take an addicted gamer from a normal person and what this addiction can cause to him/her.

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