Psychiatrist compares video game addicts to junkies

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

An undoubtedly well-meaning psychiatrist has claimed that video game dependence is similar to drug and alcohol addiction.

"Any pleasurable activity has the potential to become addictive or to form a repetitive pattern of use. Games are very enjoyable and provide a very positive experience for most people who use them," Guy Porter told the Australian Herald Sun.

Psychiatrist compares video game addicts to junkies"But there are a small number of people out there - those who are playing for eight hours plus a day - who have got a problem with it. [So] the issue is whether it is the actual game they are playing or an underlying mental-health problem that the person has."

According to Porter, video game addicts could be experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression, social problems, marriage issues, or financial difficulties.

"A lot of games, in particular online games, can offer a sense of achievement in the virtual world which outweighs the sense of achievement in real life," opined Porter.

"A lot of people find it more rewarding to achieve online objectives in a game rather than real-world objectives."

Indeed, it should be noted that at least 30 percent of South Korean public school students have shown signs of video game addiction, including 40 percent of male students.

As such, the the South Korea government has implemented a controversial policy of cutting off access to certain online games after midnight.

The new policy requires users of primary and secondary school age to choose an option of midnight - 6 AM, 1 AM - 7 AM, or 2 AM to 8 AM where the country's online networks will automatically shut them out of a handful of online games.

Games like Maple Story and Dragon Nest, along with 17 other online role-playing games, will be part of the ban. Those 19 titles account for 79 percent of South Korea's burgeoning online entertainment market.