Video game addiction isn’t as easy to treat as heroin addiction. That’s one of the big takeaways from a recent Reddit AMA with a Harvard-trained psychiatrist focusing on the field of game addiction, in which psychiatrist Alok Kanojia discusses the practice and the cultural hangups about the addiction. For example, he notes that it’s different from substance-based addictions because of the sense of pride and accomplishment many gamers have, leading to many addicts who are proud of their behavior; by contrast, most substance addicts are ashamed and remorseful about their actions.
He also notes that one of his theories for the reason that it’s more common among male subjects is due to culture; as men are trained to not discuss their emotional states, they associate video games with “destressing” without actually treating the underlying issues causing the stress in the first place. This makes addiction a retreat that provides an easy solution but doesn’t actually solve the core problem. It’s a fascinating look at a field of mental health that is still poorly understood, but pretty relevant to our shared hobby.