Are videogames addictive? Apparently they are specifically designed from the ground up to be so. From The Fix:
Video games like Farmville and Words With Friends are specifically designed to get people hooked, with the industry even hiring psychiatric professionals to help make them more addictive. And the tactic seems to be working. Recent research shows that video games can be just as addictive as drugs, alcohol or gambling. “It’s the same exact clinical symptoms: preoccupation, loss of control, inability to stop,” says Dr. Timothy Fong, who runs a UCLA clinic for behavioral addiction. “They keep playing the game despite harmful consequences so, in my mind, absolutely I believe it is the same disease as alcohol or drug addiction.” While the stereotypical video game player is a nerdy teenager, Fong says that plenty of adults also find themselves unable to put down the controller. “The average age of our patients is about 40. We’ve seen housewives, doctors, lawyers,” he says.
Still, the American Psychological Association is unwilling to recognize video game addiction as an official diagnosis. It does however list “video game psychologist” as a “hot career” since the gaming industry is increasingly hiring psychologists as consultants; they use their expertise of the human mind to make the games more enticing, and harder to put down.
Do you get addicted to videogames?
I do sometimes get hooked on a game — I was obsessively playing Farmville for a while — but obviously I have an obsession limit, because eventually I get to a point where I’m instantly bored, and interest in a game shuts off like someone threw a switch. I’m playing DragonVale at the moment, but I sense that the boredom switch is about to get thrown.
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