Kicking The Habit

Mark J Kline

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Kicking The Habit

Dr. Mark helps those of us that rely too heavily on games for escapism.

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Dastardly

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Apr 19, 2010
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Man -- great to read your stuff again!

I can't pretend to understand a heavy addiction to gaming, but I can speak to when my own habits have gotten out of hand. Usually, it was during a rough patch at work and the release of a new MMO or large-scale RPG (you know, the really engrossing games). Heck, Magic: The Gathering and modifying NERF guns even got me in those phases.

The best thing? Distance. Once I got some distance from the hobby, with the help of my wife and friends, I was able to look back and really see how much of my time, energy, and (gulp) money was tied up in this... and what I had to show for it (a lot of missing time, energy, and money).

I wish your featured author the best of luck in making the change he wants. I think he'll breathe a big sigh of relief when it happens, too!
 

The Funslinger

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Very interesting article. I think the Extra Credits back to back monologue of game addiction also provides some interesting perspective on it.
 

6SteW6

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It's all about perspective. After having a baby I found gaming had been a habit for lack of anything better to do. Don't get me wrong I still game, but I only spend a quarter of the time I used to on it. Mostly I game in the winter, in the summer I get some distance from it, there's so much to do outside with the wife and kid (And my apartments air conditioner manages to cool my apartment to a chilly 86degrees on a 90 degree day, so that helps :p).

When winter rolls around and all the good games come out I spend a bit more time on it. I will be losing a lot of time to Xcom: EU this year.
 

CardinalPiggles

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Replacing your addiction doesn't help in my experiences, but keeping a distance and telling yourself the reason to avoid it (or limit yourself to it) over and over again definitely helps a lot.
 

Blood Brain Barrier

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Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
 

ResonanceSD

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Binnsyboy said:
Very interesting article. I think the Extra Credits back to back monologue of game addiction also provides some interesting perspective on it.
Which is here, for people (Part 1)
Blood Brain Barrier said:
Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
Yes, pretty much this, if it's psychological, a GP won't have much of an idea.
 

hickwarrior

a samurai... devil summoner?
Nov 7, 2007
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Well, it's harder if you don't tend to do the more social things. I'm quite afraid of strangers and I don't have many(if any) friends to speak of.

the only thing that could motivate me is my parents and possibly my future, which I still haven't put much thought into.

If anything, my only real hobby is videogaming. Reading's nice, but I don't tend to do it that much. I'd love to play boardgames, or any game played on a table, but I don't have people that want to play boardgames with me.

However, I'm not that depressed, just that I know I have to focus on the future of where I'm going. Maybe that'll give me more energy than what I have right now.
 

Ultrajoe

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Apr 24, 2008
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Blood Brain Barrier said:
Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
Because his advice is sound and is an acknowledged method for overcoming non-chemical addiction? Because identifying habit triggers and cognitive dysfunctions is a proven method for breaking poor habit cycles? Because he's a compassionate (seemingly) individual with a record of sound writing on video-game addiction? Because being a doctor doesn't disqualify you from knowing the basics on how to advise somebody in this situation? Because he also states that if the problem is severe and persists a professional should be contacted?

Any of those, really.
 

ldwater

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Jun 15, 2009
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Personally I find that its best to try and ration your gaming time to try and give yourself enough time to enjoy your hobby but also give yourself enough time to carry on with your life.

Its very similar to giving up smoking or going on a diet - if you go cold turkey and cut it off completely you'll just crave it more; and eventually you'll just break and go right back to how you were.

If you limit yourself to say maybe 2 - 3 hours a night then you know you have a limit and can try to make the most of your time. Again its like a diet; if you eat burgers every day you won't enjoy them as much as when you treat yourself to one a week, so limiting your consumption (and mentally agreeing with yourself that its a good idea) is the first step towards better appreciation of your games and the time you spend in them.

Obviously the type of game also plays a huge part in how you spend your time. Most MMOs can quickly spiral out of control and you'll start doing some dailies and next second get invited to a big raid and spend hours killing bosses. You'll need to be much more diciplined in what games you play or how you spend that time as you know you have a specific cut off point that cannot be broken.

I would try and get into an instance asap so I know I have the most time available and then if I have some time left over run some dailies or simply log off for the day to try again tomorrow. Again; almost all of this is self dicipline and self management, and the skills will be useful for later life too as a lot of jobs these days rely on people being able to make the optimum use of their available time.

The first few days will be the worst as you'll feel weird about cutting yourself off early but once your into the flow you'll find that you appreciate the time you spend in game much more and maybe even get to a point where you know you can control that part of your life rather than it controlling you.

Good luck!
 

Blood Brain Barrier

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Ultrajoe said:
Blood Brain Barrier said:
Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
Because his advice is sound and is an acknowledged method for overcoming non-chemical addiction? Because identifying habit triggers and cognitive dysfunctions is a proven method for breaking poor habit cycles? Because he's a compassionate (seemingly) individual with a record of sound writing on video-game addiction? Because being a doctor doesn't disqualify you from knowing the basics on how to advise somebody in this situation? Because he also states that if the problem is severe and persists a professional should be contacted?

Any of those, really.
Using your professional title when writing is a way of saying you're qualified to profess the information you are professing. Plus look at the column title: Ask Dr. Mark. If there's a title that screams "trust me, I know about this" more than that, I haven't seen it. If he wants to post anonymously and on an equal level with others I would encourage him, but now more than ever too many doctors and patients think that medical qualifications endows one with an ability to solve any problem, medical or not.
 

Ultrajoe

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Apr 24, 2008
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Blood Brain Barrier said:
Ultrajoe said:
Blood Brain Barrier said:
Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
Because his advice is sound and is an acknowledged method for overcoming non-chemical addiction? Because identifying habit triggers and cognitive dysfunctions is a proven method for breaking poor habit cycles? Because he's a compassionate (seemingly) individual with a record of sound writing on video-game addiction? Because being a doctor doesn't disqualify you from knowing the basics on how to advise somebody in this situation? Because he also states that if the problem is severe and persists a professional should be contacted?

Any of those, really.
Using your professional title when writing is a way of saying you're qualified to profess the information you are professing. Plus look at the column title: Ask Dr. Mark. If there's a title that screams "trust me, I know about this" more than that, I haven't seen it. If he wants to post anonymously and on an equal level with others I would encourage him, but now more than ever too many doctors and patients think that medical qualifications endows one with an ability to solve any problem, medical or not.
But he does know about this. And you should trust him. He's recommending a non-medical solution to a habitual problem that's common sense and widely accepted practice, you don't *need* a qualification to suggest pattern-recognition as a solution to addictive gaming. Are we really suggesting that being a Doctor means that you *can't* give the most basic, sound answer because you haven't done the training? Especially in the light of his recommendation of seeking further help, I think it's either paranoid or pedantic to say that a GP can't give the same answer you could readily accept of the half-informed man on the street.

In light of that, let me have another go at answering your original question.

Blood Brain Barrier said:
Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
Because even the average person on the street with some basic knowledge or experience can offer this advice. Which works, by the way.
 

Salad Is Murder

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Ultrajoe said:
Blood Brain Barrier said:
Ultrajoe said:
Blood Brain Barrier said:
Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
Because his advice is sound and is an acknowledged method for overcoming non-chemical addiction? Because identifying habit triggers and cognitive dysfunctions is a proven method for breaking poor habit cycles? Because he's a compassionate (seemingly) individual with a record of sound writing on video-game addiction? Because being a doctor doesn't disqualify you from knowing the basics on how to advise somebody in this situation? Because he also states that if the problem is severe and persists a professional should be contacted?

Any of those, really.
Using your professional title when writing is a way of saying you're qualified to profess the information you are professing. Plus look at the column title: Ask Dr. Mark. If there's a title that screams "trust me, I know about this" more than that, I haven't seen it. If he wants to post anonymously and on an equal level with others I would encourage him, but now more than ever too many doctors and patients think that medical qualifications endows one with an ability to solve any problem, medical or not.
But he does know about this. And you should trust him. He's recommending a non-medical solution to a habitual problem that's common sense and widely accepted practice, you don't *need* a qualification to suggest pattern-recognition as a solution to addictive gaming. Are we really suggesting that being a Doctor means that you *can't* give the most basic, sound answer because you haven't done the training? Especially in the light of his recommendation of seeking further help, I think it's either paranoid or pedantic to say that a GP can't give the same answer you could readily accept of the half-informed man on the street.

In light of that, let me have another go at answering your original question.

Blood Brain Barrier said:
Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
Because even the average person on the street with some basic knowledge or experience can offer this advice. Which works, by the way.
Oh, now we're taking the average person on the street with some basic knowledge's opinion about brain chemistry and addiction and triggers and stuff?

Okay, well I'm Dr. Herpina Derpstein (apots, M.D., DDS)and I think that eating the all-new Chevy Sonic will cure your lukemia and I bet this mountain dew will fix that gout'cha got.
 

iseko

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Dec 4, 2008
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Take your computer apart into all it's different components. I'm not joking. That's how kicked it.

Nah, I'm kidding

Sounds legit but still it's never easy. How I really did it is: I asked the person I was living with to keep the power cable from my pc. And to only give it to me when I had some actual work on the computer. Sad but true. I'm weak. Also: a gf helps.
 

Doom-Slayer

Ooooh...I has custom title.
Jul 18, 2009
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Blood Brain Barrier said:
Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
Salad Is Murder said:
Yeah, are you even a real doctor? Dr Mario isn't a real doctor, don't let him touch your genitals.
ResonanceSD said:
Yes, pretty much this, if it's psychological, a GP won't have much of an idea.
To all of you.

http://www.hrshelps.org/1about/klineM.html

Hes the associate director of a mental health agency and has been working there longer than I have been alive.(I'm 20 btw). Maybe...just maybe he knows what he is talking about.
 

ResonanceSD

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Doom-Slayer said:
Blood Brain Barrier said:
Dear Dr. Mark

Why should we listen to a doctor for a question about gaming addiction when they aren't likely to know any more about it than the average person on the street?
Salad Is Murder said:
Yeah, are you even a real doctor? Dr Mario isn't a real doctor, don't let him touch your genitals.
ResonanceSD said:
Yes, pretty much this, if it's psychological, a GP won't have much of an idea.
To all of you.

http://www.hrshelps.org/1about/klineM.html

Hes the associate director of a mental health agency and has been working there longer than I have been alive.(I'm 20 btw). Maybe...just maybe he knows what he is talking about.
In all our defence. Why wouldn't he tell us that?
 

Ultrajoe

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Apr 24, 2008
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Salad Is Murder said:
Oh, now we're taking the average person on the street with some basic knowledge's opinion about brain chemistry and addiction and triggers and stuff?

Okay, well I'm Dr. Herpina Derpstein (apots, M.D., DDS)and I think that eating the all-new Chevy Sonic will cure your lukemia and I bet this mountain dew will fix that gout'cha got.
Cute, but you're missing an important point; A bad habit, which by all accounts is what the author is suffering from, is not a chemical addiction, internal or otherwise. It's not an addiction. It has triggers, but not in a chemically compelling sense. You don't need a whiff of neuroscience to know the utter basics of sound mental health. I don't need to be a surgeon to put a band-aid onto myself or a friend. Keeping a journal of urges and their causes isn't rocket science, Dr. Herpina Derpstein, it's about as basic to self-help as getting out of the house once in a while and having friends.

And, best of all, you don't need to be an expert to recommend to a friend that they *see* an expert if your advice doesn't help. Which I would do, which Doctor Mark has done and which the author is heartily advised to do.

Untie your panties, the good Doctor isn't diagnosing him or handing out a prescription for antidepressants.
 

Blood Brain Barrier

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Salad Is Murder said:
But he does know about this. And you should trust him. He's recommending a non-medical solution to a habitual problem that's common sense and widely accepted practice, you don't *need* a qualification to suggest pattern-recognition as a solution to addictive gaming. Are we really suggesting that being a Doctor means that you *can't* give the most basic, sound answer because you haven't done the training? Especially in the light of his recommendation of seeking further help, I think it's either paranoid or pedantic to say that a GP can't give the same answer you could readily accept of the half-informed man on the street.
.
Sigh. No we're not saying an MD can't give this advice, but only that it's misleading to give it in a column presenting itself as medical advice. As someone below said, it's not a case of chemical dependence. Go see a psychologist. Next we'll see Dr. Mark giving legal advice and when criticism comes I'll be saying the same thing - there's nothing about being a doctor that qualifies you to give that advice no matter how basic it is.
 

likalaruku

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Everyone in my family became addicted to video games when TV started sucking. Before that we were couch potatoes.