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June 15, 2006

 
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Message To Parents:
IS YOUR CHILD ADDICTED?




As if worrying about your teenager using drugs wasn’t enough, parents now have a new reality to deal with. Recent studies suggest that the video games that kids play can be just as addictive as crack or alcohol, and without treatment can lead to premature loss of vision, dizziness, carpal tunnel syndrome, anti-social behavior and even death.

Well, maybe not death, but the rest of the stuff for sure.

A clinic in the Netherlands (where else?) has opened in response to the need for hooked gamers to kick. Because gamers often use drugs to help focus and extend their playing time, the program takes a two-prong approach that combines treatment for video game addiction, along with additional focus on game-related substance abuse on a case-by-case basis.

Since opening in January, the clinic has treated gaming addicts whose withdrawal symptoms range from involuntary hand and finger movements to breaking out in a cold sweat at the sight of a computer. More akin to gambling addiction than physical dependancy, video game addiction occurs when players use the games to avoid unpleasant situations and end up living the games as an alternate reality.

"I used to play 15 hours a day and more," said one patient. "I couldn’t hold down a job and I ended up robbing liquor stores to be able to afford new games. I had X-Box and PS2, along with over a hundred different games for each. I couldn’t stop. Sometimes I’d go through two joysticks a week."

While details of the detox program are not made public, therapists acknowledge that the basic treatment involves "going outside and being in the real world" while developing interests that don’t involve a computer, television or gaming system.

"We’re trying to get our patients involved with time-honored activities such as painting, singing, reading and writing as creative alternatives to playing video games,"said one of the clinic’s lead therapists.


A.) I like to gamble all night at on-line casinos while drinking beer and smoking crack.
B.) I like to smoke weed and have sex. It mellows me out, man.
C.) I drink whiskey and shoot handguns. Mostly at targets, but sometimes small animals.




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