Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s Alcoholism

August 23, 2010 -

While videogame addiction still isn’t recognized by the American Medical Association, an article on the subject in the Dayton Daily News features quotes from Iowa State researcher Douglas Gentile in which he continues to make the push that videogame addiction is real.

The article begins with a mention of Quinn Pitcock, the ex-NFL player attempting a comeback with the Seattle Seahawks following a bout with depression, which, he claims, led to excessive videogame play. From there the article evolves into a discussion on the subject of game addiction itself.

Sarah Greenwell, a Pediatric Psychologist from the Children’s Medic l Center of Dayton, kicks off the piece by stating that, throughout her years of service, she has come across only two kids that were genuinely addicted to videogames.

Next up was Gentile, who previously used spilled pencils to demonstrate that playing first-person shooters might reduce empathy, and who also contributed to a study that attempted to link playing games and watching television to attention problems in kids (a study that was later debunked by Christopher J Ferguson).

This time around Gentile compared addiction to videogames to another addiction, alcoholism, stating:

The state where we are with video game addiction is where we were with alcoholism 40 years ago. Forty years ago, there started being evidence that it looked like a medical problem, but people said, ‘No, no — it’s a moral issue. You’re just not strong enough to stop.'


Comments

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

What I eagerly await are the studies and outrage on sports addiction! People who can't get enough of baseball, football, etc. They have to watch highlights, pre-game analysis, post-game analysis, go to sports bars and drink....

Wait...that's being "normal" for some reason, even if you have a huge beer gut, never actually play those sports, have your own "virtual team" that you bet on with your co-workers every week, and talk about nothing else. I guess addiction only applies to "unpopular" hobbies....

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

Well, if I'm going to rip off a movie I might as well steal from the best.

"Video game addiction?! You ever suck some dick for 15 minutes of WoW?"

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

I'm taking issue with the fact that their example is clearly a case where excessive playing of videogames was a form of self treatment, not a disease itself.  Quinn Pitlock was suffering from depression - that was his problem, not videogame addiction.  Someone who is depressed and drinks excessively is more than likely just drinking to treat their depression, not an alcoholic.  Normally if you treat the source of the problem (in this case, depression) the "addiction" is no longer necessary, and falls to the wayside.  Wasn't there a study published in South Korea that evinced this only a few weeks ago?

Someone who genuinely suffers from game addiction (and not some other disease they're using videogames to treat) is very, very rare.  I have a friend who will suffer from withdrawl (shakes, headaches, etc) if he doesn't play videogames for a long enough time.  That is videogame addiction. But it's no different than people who exercise excessively and become addicted to the epinephrine boost, and I have known many, many more people (and I'm a gamer) who suffer from exercise addiction than videogame addiction.

Does it exist? Yes.  I know it does, from second hand experience.  Is it something frequent enough, compared to other addictions, that we should worry about it? Not really, or at least not in my experience.  Show me a study that shows a good percentage of those who enjoy videogames are actually addicted to it, and then I'll see it as a big problem.

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." ~Best quote ever, Albert Einstein

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." ~Best quote ever, Albert Einstein

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

I'm addicted to breathing. I can't help it. I just don't have the strength to stop.

Does that count?

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

More like comparing it to yesteryears shopping addiction....


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Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

(shrugs) SSDD

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

As if we haven't heard this before.

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

Ah.. ha....

Yeah... video games can be addicting, just like any other activity.... comparing it to something physically and chemically addictive like alcohol seems a bit disingenuous.....

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

I anxiously await research showing that game addiction is a genetic disease, causes physical dependence, and is a major cause of domestic violence.

Though I WILL concede that, like drinking, if you're playing a game while driving you can cause an accident.

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

Are video games addictive?  No.  Can you be addicted to video games?  Only in the sense that you choose to play them to the exclusion of other important things (health, social life, etc.).

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Gentile Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s ...

Gentile's 2009 study he references was the one where he used an on-line survey to survey kids who naturally were heavy internet users.  The 8.5% figure he gets, therefore, is largely meaningless.  Kind of like going to a cancer ward to study cancer prevalence rates.

Junk science.

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