Addiction and health
This websites includes data about videogames, marijuana and watching pornography addictions and their impact on health of people.


Tanner, L. (2007). Is video-games addiction a mental disorder? (NBC news)
Joyce Protopapas of Frisco, Texas, said her 17-year-old son, Michael, was a video addict. Over nearly two years, video and Internet games
transformed him from an outgoing, academically gifted teen into a reclusive manipulator who flunked two 10th grade classes and spent
several hours day and night playing a popular online video game called World of Warcraft.
“My father was an alcoholic ... and I saw exactly the same thing” in Michael, Protopapas said. “We battled him until October of last year,”
she said. “We went to therapists, we tried taking the game away.
“He would threaten us physically. He would curse and call us every name imaginable,” she said. “It was as if he was possessed.”
When she suggested to therapists that Michael had a video game addiction, “nobody was familiar with it,” she said. “They all pooh-
poohed it.”
Last fall, the family found a therapist who “told us he was addicted, period.” They sent Michael to a therapeutic boarding school, where he
has spent the past six months — at a cost of $5,000 monthly that insurance won’t cover, his mother said.
A support group called On-Line Gamers Anonymous has numerous postings on its Web site from gamers seeking help. Liz Woolley, of
Harrisburg, Pa., created the site after her 21-year-old son fatally shot himself in 2001 while playing an online game she says destroyed
his life.
In a February posting, a 13-year-old identified only as Ian told of playing video games for nearly 12 hours straight, said he felt suicidal and
wondered if he was addicted.
“I think i need help,” the boy said.
Postings also come from adults, mostly men, who say video game addiction cost them jobs, family lives and self-esteem.
According to the report prepared by the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health, based on a review of scientific literature,
“dependence-like behaviors are more likely in children who start playing video games at younger ages.”
Overuse most often occurs with online role-playing games involving multiple players, the report says. Blizzard Entertainment’s teen-rated,
monster-killing World of Warcraft is among the most popular. A company spokesman declined to comment on whether the games can
cause addiction.
A woman in the New Haven, Conn., area who bought the game for her 15-year-old son last year, says he got hooked on it.
“Now that I look back on it, it’s like I went out and bought him his first Jack Daniel’s,” said the 49-year-old woman who didn’t want her
name used to spare her son from ridicule.
Dr. Martin Wasserman, a pediatrician who heads the Maryland State Medical Society, said the AMA proposal will help raise awareness
and called it “the right thing to do.”
But Michael Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, said the trade group sides with psychiatrists “who agree that
this so-called ’video-game addiction’ is not a mental disorder.”
“The American Medical Association is making premature conclusions without the benefit of complete and thorough data,” Gallagher said.
Dr. Karen Pierce, a psychiatrist at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital, said she sees at least two children a week who play video
games excessively.
“I saw somebody this week who hasn’t been to bed, hasn’t showered ... because of video games,” she said. “He is really a mess.”
She said she treats it like any addiction and creating a separate diagnosis is unnecessary.
Dr. Michael Brody, head of a TV and media committee at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, agreed. He praised
the AMA council for bringing attention to the problem, but said excessive video-game playing could be a symptom for other things, such as
depression or social anxieties that already have their own diagnoses.
“You could make lots of behavioral things into addictions. Why stop at video gaming?” Brody asked. Why not Blackberries, cell phones, or
other irritating habits, he said.

Gaming-addicted children at higher risk of mental health issues (2014).
... Video game addiction—although not officially recognized by the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-5)
—is known to share many traits with drug and alcohol addiction. Gaming increases the size of the reward center in the brain, meaning that
gamers get a huge dopamine boost when playing. Dopamine is central to many addictions, including cocaine dependence and
compulsive gambling, so the fact that it’s implicated in gaming adds a great deal of weight to the idea of video game addiction. Like drug
addicts, video game addicts continue to play despite abundant negative consequences and often destroy their careers and relationships
because of the time they dedicate to the habit.

According to the Australian experts, many children and adults suffering from video game addiction are laughed out of doctors’ offices
when they seek help for the problem. This has led the addiction experts to speak out about the risk of video game addiction at a
conference held earlier this month, with Dr. Philip Tam of Sydney University claiming that there were probably hundreds of thousands of
children aged 8 to 14 with “significant problems” related to excessive gaming. He claims cases are coming to him from all over Australia
(with parents willing to travel across the country to find treatment) and in one instance involved a child who’d played games for 60 hours
without sleep or so much as a break. According to Dr. Tam, the proportion of gamers who become addicted is around 10 percent, much
like drug and alcohol addictions. In the most severe cases, kids drop out of school, become violent toward their parents and possibly
develop mental health problems.

Council on Children and Media conference to hear of kids with gaming addictions (October 3, 2013).

"I've been getting probably 50 to 100 calls from all over Australia from parents willing to bring (their children) literally from Tasmania or the
Gold Coast to come and see me (in Sydney) because they are so desperate." (Dr Philip Tam).

Oberg, B. (2013, October 8).
Is There a Link Between Violent Video Games and Mental Illness?

What I’m playing and how much of it I’m playing is a good indicator of my current mental health status. When I’m happy, I occasionally play
a simulator or role playing game. When I’m depressed, I spend most of my waking hours playing fantasy games. When I’m starting to go
psychotic, I play a video game with a dark theme or violent content, such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or the Silent Scope series.
......
While not an official mental health diagnosis, the DSM-V contains a reference to “Internet Gaming Disorder” in its Conditions for Further
Study section. The New York Daily News lists seven symptoms of a possible problem. They are:  Secrecy or lying about use Spending
more than 24-30 hours a week online not for work or school Mood shifts, such as increased irritability, if access is taken away A significant
decrease in other activities and interests Neglecting friends, family and other responsibilities Sleep problems Deterioration of personal
hygiene There are many other symptoms. On-Line Gamers Anonymous offers a helpful questionnaire that may indicate whether or not you
have a problem.
......

I use video games as an escape from my sometimes-unpleasant reality. Apparently I’m not alone. According to Wikipedia, it’s like any
other addiction–it stimulates feelings of pleasure and rewards. Therefore, it is often treated like any other addiction.

A Chinese software association head, Liu Min, said in Play “In the hypothetical world created by such games, [gamers] become confident
and gain satisfaction, which they cannot get in the real world.” A paper in the Journal of Psychiatric Research argued that nearly 3 percent
of gamers may experience some symptoms of pathological gaming. However, the paper argued that the games were a symptom of
mental health problems and not the cause.

In other words, while there is a link between mental illness and excessive video game playing, correlation is not causation. The games
are merely a symptom, not a cause.