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Addiction therapists trying to help addicted in the game

Britain's Telegraph newspaper has news about addiction therapists joining the game themselves, specifically to find and seek out players who might meet the definition of addicted to World of Warcraft. They're actually looking for official Blizzard support, too. I'm not sure how much help you can actually provide by chatting with a player in the game ("Hello, it looks like you've been online for the last 16 hours, are you addicted?"), but they want to do it.

Dr. Richard Graham wants to launch a program by the end of the year that includes some in-game outreach, and even he agrees that it'll be tough sell. Then again, maybe the guy just wants to play some WoW for free:

"While a psychiatrist may excel in what they do in the real world, they're probably not going to be very good at playing
World of Warcraft. We may have to work at that if we are going to get through to those who play this game for hours at end."

Right. "Work.".

Seriously, sure, this is definitely an issue -- I have a psychologist friend, and he's done some work with people addicted to video games before, including World of Warcraft. But even he tells me that video game addiction is almost always a byproduct of some other form of addiction -- people already have the capability for a debilitating addiction, and they just find an outlet in Blizzard's game. From that point of view, these therapists might have more luck wandering around bars or casinos than actually looking for players in Azeroth.

I'm all for helping people who might have issues with addiction, but diving into the game and trying to both find and help people that way doesn't really seem like the best way to do it. Odds are that a WoW addiction will end up manifesting itself elsewhere in the person's life, and that's probably a better place for these guys to look

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard

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