We've talked in the past about how certain psychologists seem addicted to coming up with new addictions for things that probably aren't actually addictive. Usually, this seems to include some new technology. So, there's email addiction, web addiction, online porn, mobile phones or the whole damn internet. Of course, in most of these cases, the addiction word is used to create an emotional response. It makes people think of chemical dependencies, such as to illegal drugs or smoking. In many cases, the "addictions" described aren't really addictions, but an indication of a different problem, such as depression. However, treating depression can be hard. Treating an addiction can be easy: you just keep the person away from what they're addicted to. If there's no real chemical dependency, people may get upset, but they are a lot less likely to totally freak out. Perhaps that's why some folks who would prefer to work on these types of "addictions" keep popping up in the news. It must be good for business to come up with some bogus addiction and get lots of press coverage out of it. The latest is a story about a new "detox center" for video game addictions. This one was set up by (I kid you not) a group of "addiction consultants." Perhaps treating drug addicts was a bit too much of a pain, so they figured video gamers (or worried parents of rich suburban video gamers) would be easier targets. The article quotes one of the addiction consultants, who rolls out all kinds of expected stories about kids who have no social skills, and how the kids may break out in shaking and sweats when withdrawn from computer games. It makes for a good read, and most of the quotes seem to be directed at parents who fear their kids may be lost to gaming addiction. Amusingly, the two example cases they trot out, both appear to have drug, not gaming addictions -- but the addiction consultant convinced them the root cause of their drug addiction is actually this gaming addiction. The addiction consultant mentions how playing games makes endorphins kick in, leading to the addiction -- in an attempt to show how video gaming can have a chemical dependency issue as well. Of course, there's one fairly big problem with this whole thing. Medical research a few years ago showed there's no such thing as a chemical addiction to video games, and that games are no more addictive than school or work.
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