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Video game addiction claims victim
Posted: Friday, January 30, 2015 11:45 am
It is clear that so-called nerd culture has crept into our daily lives. Superhero movies crush box office records, fans of "The Big Bang Theory" proudly shout "Bazinga!" and classes are accompanied by the constant clicking of people playing cellphone games like "Candy Crush". Video games especially are a medium that has boomed into the spotlight in recent years with rising profits and incredible leaps in console technology. They have attracted A-list stars, like Kevin Spacey, to lend their likenesses to games, have filled entire stadiums during gaming tournaments and can even help teens go to college with new scholarships in competitive video gaming. However, with this integration of what was once a fringe society come tales of caution. Video games were made to entertain and distract, and that is what they do almost too well. Grades slip, obligations are ignored, and social interaction is eschewed in order to play each installment of "Call of Duty", "Far Cry" and "Dragon Age". But what happens when it goes even more to the extreme?
On January 8, a 32-year-old man was found dead in a Taiwanese gaming café. His cause of death was a cardiac arrest triggered by cold temperatures and the exhaustion he endured during a three-day gaming binge. While some may find this story outlandish or unbelievable, it in fact comes as no surprise to those in the mental health world. Psychiatrists have been pushing to include video game addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The most recent edition admitted that video game disorder is a condition warranting more clinical research and study. In the DSM-V’s consideration it cites a study that was conducted of young adult males that states when the men were engrossed in video games "certain pathways in their brains are triggered in the same direct and intense way that a drug addict’s brain is affected by a particular substance. The gaming prompts a neurological response that influences feelings of pleasure and reward, and the result, in the extreme, is manifested as addictive behavior.” Further research is needed but it goes to show that this could be the beginning of a worrying trend. As video games dominate the market and become acceptable in our society, we must tread cautiously. Advances in the quality of graphics and immersion will no doubt increase the addictive qualities of the medium. Hopefully we can soon learn how to temper our use of the technologies in our lives. For now as we live in the midst of a technological revolution it is hard to adjust to a near-constant flow of fascinating new gadgets and toys to entertain us. In the future when technology no longer continues to leap ahead in constant bursts, perhaps we will all be able to moderate our Internet and video game usage. Or perhaps more study is warranted, and video game addiction will prove to be as legitimate a mental disease as any other addiction.
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