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By Lydia Bjornlund

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My father, myself, our family, our animals, her photography, and any other thing she liked to do suddenly was . . well, worthless to her, apparently. 48 An enthusiast of Farmville, the massively multiplayer online game developed for members of Facebook, creates a working farm. Players connect with each other as they build, run, and improve their virtual farms. Getting High This kind of behavior is not unusual among addicts. Hilarie Cash, a psychotherapist who treats patients with addictive behaviors, says that many people can become as hooked on video gaming as others become hooked on drugs.

He suggests that more needs to be done to investigate these games’ effects on aggression as opposed to violence, explaining that the evidence that playing video games induces criminal or serious physical violence is much weaker than the evidence that 56 games increase the types of aggression that happen every day in school hallways. 63 Indeed, research suggests that teens who are exposed to violent video games will, over time, become more hostile, engage in more physical fights with peers, get into trouble more often with teachers, and generally do more poorly in school.

There are also treatment programs that specialize in treating teenagers, and these often combine addiction counseling with esteem-building exercises. For example, a ten-week program in southern Utah in a wilderness setting involves patients in outdoor activities. Coping in the Real World Experts disagree on whether this kind of isolation is the best way to treat gaming addiction. Some critics of inpatient centers, including psychiatrist Jerald Block, say that abruptly cutting off access to video games can be harmful if the addiction is being used to help the sufferer deal with difficult emotions that demand a gradual approach to ending the addiction.

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The History of Video Games by Lydia Bjornlund


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