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Internet & Gaming Addiction: True or False?

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True or False: You can only become addicted to a substance that has an addictive chemical already in it.

False. Since addiction lies in the brain, many people experience addictions to sex, gambling, shopping, etc. Although internet and gaming addictions have not yet been listed as official “addictions”, we have to question, why not?

Definition of Addiction

Per The American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is defined as a disease. The short version of the description is that addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

Most recently in the capital of South Korea, where they have been researching gaming and internet addictions and treatment options, Dr. Han Doug-hyun, from Chung-Ang University Hospital in Seoul, believes that gaming and internet addicts can be treated much like alcoholism. As with any disorder, a diagnosis usually is needed; Han provided 5 warning signs that one could check to see if they are struggling with gaming or internet addiction.

5 Signs & Symptoms Of Gaming Addiction:

1. Lifestyle interuption: if a person is sleeping all day and playing video games all throughout the night, this could be a sign that gaming is getting in the way of a healthy life.

2. Job loss:  this happens when gaming has become more important than shcool, work, or other interests.

3. Bigger fix: the gamer needs to get get to the next level, beat the bad guy, or can’t seem to stop for other activities, like family functions or hanging out with friends.

4. Gaming withdrawal: the gamer becomes irritable or angry if they are away from their gaming experience for long periods of time.

5. Cravings: when the gamer is away from their game they may begin to crave playing even if they don’t want to anymore.

These 5 signs seem very similar to the signs and symptoms of alcoholism and drug addiction. A quick peruse of the internet reveals that there is already at least one 12-step based program for such an addiction:

Addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful. It is one of many disorders that still baffle scientist, but yet, people still recover. If you are suffering from internet or gaming addiction, why not get the help you deserve?

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