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Mark J Kline

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May 7, 2010
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#1

The Escapist's resident clinical psychologist is ready to answer your gaming-related questions.

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Alar

The Stormbringer
Dec 1, 2009
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Good to see someone come out and finally make the distinction about addiction being anything that can be pleasurable. To this end, I would assume even something as seemingly healthy as working out can be addictive, as it gives your body a naturally pleasing reaction (releasing endorphins into the brain, etc.).

I'm not entirely sure if I could classify myself as "addicted" to a single game. Am I addicted to the Internet and video games as a whole? Maybe, but it would take time for me to quantify those experiences and explain them logically.

Thanks for the article.
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
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Really, really intresting article. I like the detail you go into when it coems to outlining what addition and pleasure is.

Thank you for your article, I certainly would be intrested in future articles!
 
Feb 13, 2008
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I'm still not sure about the use of the word addiction here. From my understanding, the signs of addiction are not just a propensity to use the substance, but also propensity to utilise the substance in favour of more pleasurable activities and to store "stashes" of that substance for usage when you can't get to the main source.

Now, if I'm a poet, or a designer, or a writer; I can easily fulfil three of those criteria with my "vice" but there's no such thing as an addiction to those substances.

Gaming can fulfil the former two criteria, but unless you're counting the use of mobile phones, which would seem a stretch, the third is almost impossible. And would be covered under normal behaviour.

Any pleasurable substance can lead to OCD around that, but that's not necessarily an addiction, rather an outlet for a mental state that's already there.

There's also the social aspect where substance abusers rarely tend to act altruistically towards other users as the addiction takes hold. This is overthrown in smokers (for instance) who commonly band together, held up in drinkers (who take to drinking alone due to their aggression), but fails completely in gaming where the social aspect (even when ganking) tends to be paramount. It's only in the OCD cases where the ganker tends towards solo efforts, most game "addicts" revel in the praise of others.

In other words - Can gaming really be classed as an addiction if it fulfils the aspects of a "normal" life to some, for by classing it as an addicition, you're offering the hope of curing it and returning the victim to a "normal" life. The life they already rejected to become a gamer.

Most gamers I have met are a little socially awkward but couldn't you say the same about any passtime/job that regularly places them in situations where they deal with wondrous/terrible things? Could you not view Teaching, Nursing or even Psychiatry as a form of addiction? Because each of those groups will tend to play through their job in normal circumstances.

Is that so different from a gamer running forward crying "LEEEEROY JENKINS!"?

Perhaps the "Gamer" just seeks his catharsis among people who can understand him? Cops socialise together, why shouldn't we?
 

RoyalWelsh

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Feb 14, 2010
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Great article, I loved reading this, it was very interesting. Looking foward to more of these.
 

AnnaIME

Empress of Baked Goods
Dec 15, 2009
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An interesting read.

I truly believe anything pleasurable can become an addiction. For a long time I used books, all kinds of books, to make life bearable. I did keep a stash. If the stash ran out, I got edgy and upset until I scored a new baggie of novels from the library. I read instead of socializing and instead of doing homework or chores. Instead of sleeping, too. Even when life wasn't too bad, I still chose reading over most other activities. It took therapy to make me face life and get control of my reading habit.
 

Elec0

The Master of Fractals
May 29, 2009
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Great article, I look forward to reading anything else you post.
 

shogunblade

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Apr 13, 2009
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That was kind of interesting. For almost every three or four things on the news proposing that negatives of video gaming, no one mentions the eight or nine great things that come from it. I'm definitely hoping to read more.
 

Gunner 51

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Jun 21, 2009
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A fab read, Dr Kline. I can barely wait for your next article. :)

*Edited* I spelt your name wrong. How embarrassing!
 

Mark J Kline

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May 7, 2010
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Thank you for this great article, seems I missed your previous epic one, reading it right now and bookmarked.
 

Flying Dagger

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Apr 14, 2009
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Your first article was good, glad to see someone here noticed and asked for more.
And I especially like how you took the time to get in touch with me regarding my views, I think you'll find a warm welcome here, and definitely from me at least.
 

DTWolfwood

Better than Vash!
Oct 20, 2009
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Whats your stances on videogame violence? Am I to believe what the Politicians say that they cause more kids to be more violent? or the studies that these types of games either have little or no affect at all?

Curious to know what a psychologist think about the issue. :D
 

Mark J Kline

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May 7, 2010
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I say this is a unique aspect when it comes to the very controversial subject when combining video games and psychology. Something you really don't expect out of video game journalism as much as the latest psychology report suggesting that video games are "good" or "bad" for society. Good to see things brought down to a personal level that focuses more on the issue with the nuance.
 

Twinmill5000

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Nov 12, 2009
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For me, gaming is a huge stress relief, and now that I'm single, one of the only things I can do that work in such a fashion.

That's not what I want to type about, however. See, I have this issue that I know other people have because (cue Lewis Black Angry Snap) I've seen it! When I'm playing a game... publicly and online at least, it's nearly impossible to derive any sort of enjoyment from it unless I'm, not only doing good, but am the best player on my team or close to it. When I got a new mouse and my aim sucked, the frustration that ensued whenever I tried to play something skill based was enormous. Of course, this is a problem, because, yeah, it inhibits my ability to have fun in a game unless nobody is looking or I'm doing awesome without worrying about it.

I think this is an extreme extent of a lack of self-esteem, or even simply the fact I care much about what others think of me (my skill). I don't know a real way around it, really, even knowing the psychology behind it. Maybe when I hit 21 and gain the sudden wisdom that it doesn't matter, thing's will work out, but I doubt it. My dad has the same issues that are only minutely toned down.

Ways I've used to escape this issue include, of course, getting better, but that's boring. The most notable thing I've done to escape was the opposite of success. I used a sniper rifle in close quarter battle in a game that was very movement heavy (S4), thereby exempting me from all things related to score and kill/death ratio. It also improved my aim drastically until my mouse died.

So, there's how much of a fuckup I am, and I hope it can be mentioned in the next article, because it's an interesting and sadistic issue that messes up games for anyone with it. It's also a side effect of adolescence to an extent.
 

Khornefire

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Mar 27, 2009
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That's a great idea, bringing a professional to answer questions, since I'm pretty sure this will become one of the more interesting article series on the site.
 

Mr. GameBrain

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Aug 10, 2009
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Is it weird that the first thought that came into my head when I saw this article (particularily Mark's portrait!) was: "MEDIC!!"

Funny thing is, I don't even play Team Fortress 2 very much.
 

BioTox

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Nov 19, 2009
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I thought this was a really good read. :) I am/was a 4 year WoW player. I can relate to the guy's story about his family but mine wasn't bad. I used it the same way for moving a lot, college and moving again when I graduated. It meant I didn't have a lot of local friends but I could go anywhere and have my friends that played online. Now that I've settled into my job and lived in the area for a year or so, I've stopped playing WoW and have been looking for people in my area. I still talk with my WoW friend. They're some of my closest friends, even if we haven't met in person.

I look forward to seeing more of this article and how much of it I can relate to my life. I've been playing video games since I was 3 years old and it's not going to stop. It's just more about balance now.