Monday, February 11, 2013

Video Games Promoting Substance Abuse

Gaming Addiction Treatment

The risk of video game addiction has been well documented, with several reports of a growing number of youth needing process addiction treatment programs for their gaming behavior and young adults dying from sitting too long while playing video games.

Also well known and documented is the amount of violence in video games, which is dangerous for impressionable youth. The Fix added to the list of the perils of video games by publishing an article that reveals how video games also portray (and glorify) substance abuse.

In the article, The Fix reviews how the game Far Cry 3 features a tropical island pharmacist who offers hallucinogens that leads the main character through tranquil visions during his drug induced haze that help his quest. In Max Payne 3 the main character undergoes stress from his past violent exploits and is depicted passing out among empty bottles of painkillers and alcohol whilst dreaming of his life before all the violence. As the game progresses, Max Payne pops pain pills to keep himself heroically moving though the bullets and violence.

These are just a few examples of the many video games that portray substance abuse as a way to “tough out” situations. Just as drinking and smoking in movies watched by the baby boomer generation influenced their rate of alcohol and tobacco consumption  (and the creation of treatment programs for baby boomers) , substance abuse by heroes in video games are liable to influence the current generation who plays them.

Its hard not to discredit video games all together – because they are addictive, as seen among the growing rate of teens and young adults who need treatment for video game addiction (often called process addictions) and they are negatively influential, as the heroic use of substances to tough through situations could send the wrong message to gamers. To combat these risks most parenting advice columns suggest putting a limit on the rate to which youth play videogames or denying access all together. If a gaming problem persists, luckily there are several addiction treatment centers that have created special programs to help addicted gamers.

If you or a loved one is concerned about video game addiction or a similar process addiction, Passport to Recovery features addiction treatment programs that can help. These treatment centers have programs that help teens, young adults and adults recovery from process addiction – such as video game or Internet addiction.

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