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Topic : 06/03 Virtual Chaos

Number of Replies: 390
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Created on : Thursday, October 16, 2008, 10:37:46 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 10/20/08) Sixty-five percent of American households report playing computer and video games, and surprisingly, the average player is 35 years old. Computer games are supposed to be fun, but when a hobby turns into an obsession, virtual fantasy worlds can ruin lives and wreck marriages. Juli says her 34-year-old husband, Fred, plays computer games all day and ignores his entire family. Fred admits to spending up 10 hours a day in a cyber world, but will he call it an addiction? Fred’s stepson, Brandon, thinks Fred is lazy and that his mom can do better. Then, Brad, 40, was so addicted to games that he spent up to 80 hours a week locked in the basement with his computer. Not only did he accumulate close to $24,000 of debt, his addiction nearly cost him his marriage and his life! Next, Liz found her 21-year-old son, Shawn, dead at his computer from a self-inflicted gun shot. She says that a role-playing game in the virtual world transformed her son from a vibrant young adult into a depressed introvert, which ultimately led to his suicide. Liz founded Online Gamers Anonymous to educate others about the potential dangers of obsessive gaming. Then, when Wendy married a video game designer, she literally took matters into her own hands and started playing herself.  Are you or is someone you love at risk for video game addiction? Log on to DrPhil.com for a checklist of signs!

Find out what happened on the show.

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October 17, 2008, 10:10 am CDT

Virtual Chaos

Dear Dr. Phil,

 

Thank you for the way you help people through your show.  I am especially grateful that you are doing a show about online gaming addictions.  I have a 38 yr. old son who has been addicted for over four years now.  His life is completely shattered because of his addiction.  His marriage of nine years disolved, he hasn't worked for four years, and he has no life behond his computer game, World of Warcraft.  He is in complete denial that he has any problems other than depression, which I believe was brought on by his excessive gaming habit.  My son has a masters degree and was a successful manager of a huge corporation before he got hooked to online gaming.  He is not the person he used to be!  I am so grateful for the help, advise and support I have received  form the group, Olganon.  People, including the medical community, don't understand how destructive this addiction is to the people caught up in it and how it affects their family.  I trust your program will give the much needed knowlege and attention about this devastating affliction.

God bless you Dr. Phil!

 
October 17, 2008, 12:44 pm CDT

Doctor Phil Show

Chaos Doctor Phil Virtual. What does that mean anyway? I donot understand that. Are you okay Doctor Ph-

il. See you on Monday October 20th, 2008. Sincerley Your. Russell Vlaanderen.-------------------------------------

 

 
October 17, 2008, 3:45 pm CDT

Thank you for addressing this topic.

Hello,  I am on this show.  I appreciate that excessive gaming and what it can do to people and their real lives is FINALLY being talked about.  I look forward to seeing the show.  If you need support with excessive gaming, whether you are the gamer or the family member, loved one or concerned other, you are welcome to join our community  -   On-Line Gamers Anonymous at www.olganon.org

 

Sincerely,

Liz W.

 
October 17, 2008, 4:48 pm CDT

Hi!

Hi, my name's Brad. I'm on the show too. We're looking forward to seeing the episode on Monday!

Best wishes to everyone at the Dr. Phil Show who helped put this episode together - you're wonderful!
 
October 17, 2008, 7:37 pm CDT

I am a member of On-Line Gamers Anonymous

I am a member of that organization, OLGA, mentioned in the summary.  My own situation is not very typical of most gamers, and their family and friends, that come to the site.  Most people have a problem with on-line games, especially MMORPGs (Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games) like WoW (World of Warcraft), but I just played regular video games like 3-D Pinball and Minesweeper.  Also, I was able to limit the time to about 4 hours per day on average (most other people play more, often a lot more), but I would often play when I least should, like when I had client work to do (I am an independent contract computer programmer).  In addition, the video game playing was just part of my overall problem of procrastination, that I am still working on fully resolving now.

 

Although I was not as addicted as many other site members, I still found it quite difficult to stop playing, so I can appreciate how difficult it can be for many people.  I have read more than enough stories of excessive/compulsive playing to realize that this is a significant problem for some people, as well as those around them.  OLGA has helped me to stop playing and I am confident that it can help other addicted gamers, their family and friends.

 

P.S. There is a typo in the website address from Lizwool in an earlier post here.  The full address is actually http://www.olganon.org .

 
October 18, 2008, 1:22 pm CDT

GamerWidow.com

Thank you so much for doing this show. 

 

I joined GamerWidow in Nov 2005 after my partner started playing Wow in May 2005.  By then it was already too late.  He was hooked.

 

He would play about 80 hours a week and had trouble holding down a job.  He resorted to stealing money from my credit card ($800Aus) to buy wow gold in a 3 week period.  He needed his fix.

 

In the end he resorted to physical violence to stop me bugging him about the game.  If I got hit when I mentioned the time spent on gaming it doesn't take long to figure out not to bug him.  But sometimes working 50 hours a week and having 2 kids and doing all the housework got to me and I complained.  And I got hurt.

 

This game is addicting.  It was designed that way.  The small rewards, the time sink, the social content.  Be a loser in RL but dominate in Wow. 

 
October 18, 2008, 3:20 pm CDT

video game addiction?

My son is 16 and has Asperger's Syndrome.  His obsession is video games.  He is an excellent student with mostly A's but spends hours on the computer mostly playing video games. He plays a variety of different games and  World of Warcraft is not one of them.  It's video games in general.  When he is online, he is an equal and noone knows he has Asperger's. He follows all the rules about not telling too much about himself to strangers, etc.  He is a junior in high school and wants to go to college to major in video game design and programming.  When we lock him out of the computer due to not getting off when we tell him to he has a meltdown and we all suffer.  He was really starting to listen to us and try to meet us halfway but since really getting interested in colleges here in Ohio for his major interest, he seems more "addicted" than before.  In spite of him being careful we still know he is on there too much.  We know turning off the computer is the most obvious solution but we would like to have some other ideas as to how we can solve this problem.  I know this sounds pretty pathetic on our part but sometimes we walk a fine line in our household to maintain peace.
 
October 18, 2008, 4:31 pm CDT

Valid concern, sometimes blown out of proportion

Just like anything, gaming can be addictive. So can shopping, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc... If a person has an addictive personality, he/she can be addicted to anything.  I game between 8-14 hours a day, sometimes less.  What I had to learn was balance.  Now, when I had nothing in my life it was sleep, wake up, game, go to work, come home, game, sleep, and repeat.  I could not imagine losing a job for it; however, I can see where it gets in the way of relationships.  What is ironic is that I met my current live-in boyfriend in an online game over a year ago.  Now, he is here and has no interest in gaming because he has me (which confuses me), while gaming is still my favorite hobby just like it was when I met him.  I guess he had other reasons for gaming.  So, I still game.  I did have problems spending time with him, but now I make sure that other areas of my life are met before I cross to the void of gaming.  Gaming is my way of relieving stress.  Work, him, and life in general incur stress.  So, you know, you do what you gotta do.  I feel some people think it is an addiction if people actually pay to play online and/or spend over an hour a day on the game.  Wrong.  Just because it is not understood does not make it addiction.  Think of it this way, if you watch sitcoms on TV for over an hour, then would you say you are addicted to sitcoms on TV?
 
October 18, 2008, 4:57 pm CDT

10/20 Virtual Chaos

I am so glad you are doing this show Dr. Phil... I am going to make my son watch it with me..

He is 15yrs old and has been addicted to "runescape" for many yrs.. I thought he would outgrow it,but

he hasn't.  We have given him chance after chance to have to try to control it himself and he's failed. Talks

after talks trying to explain, we are so exhausted. We finally took it away from him and ofcourse he's angry

so angry at us, he won't talk, he tries to trade one addiction for another and we stop it also. He just thinks

we are terrible parents. He's now only allowed to play on sat. for 3 hrs. Now since he can't play the game he goes on the computer and watches other people play, and he still tries to tell us that he's not addicted, to give him a chance.  Please, I will be so anxious to see what advice you can give us on this, and hopefully when my son watches the show he will see what addiction can do.   I have an appt with his counselor at school on tues to see if he can help us.. He's depressed.

 

 
October 18, 2008, 5:51 pm CDT

Response

Quote From: caradia

Just like anything, gaming can be addictive. So can shopping, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc... If a person has an addictive personality, he/she can be addicted to anything.  I game between 8-14 hours a day, sometimes less.  What I had to learn was balance.  Now, when I had nothing in my life it was sleep, wake up, game, go to work, come home, game, sleep, and repeat.  I could not imagine losing a job for it; however, I can see where it gets in the way of relationships.  What is ironic is that I met my current live-in boyfriend in an online game over a year ago.  Now, he is here and has no interest in gaming because he has me (which confuses me), while gaming is still my favorite hobby just like it was when I met him.  I guess he had other reasons for gaming.  So, I still game.  I did have problems spending time with him, but now I make sure that other areas of my life are met before I cross to the void of gaming.  Gaming is my way of relieving stress.  Work, him, and life in general incur stress.  So, you know, you do what you gotta do.  I feel some people think it is an addiction if people actually pay to play online and/or spend over an hour a day on the game.  Wrong.  Just because it is not understood does not make it addiction.  Think of it this way, if you watch sitcoms on TV for over an hour, then would you say you are addicted to sitcoms on TV?
Helllooooo.....      If you would read the responses to this topic, a big problem with excessive gaming issues, is that  people like you dismiss what others are saying that they are experiencing because of excessive gaming.    You  link excessive gaming up with watching too much TV.  What excessive gaming can do to a person and relationships can be far more extensive that what watching too much TV can do to a person.  Many real lives and relationships have been totally ruined because of excessive gaming.  Some people, like you, can get back on track, and have some "control" over their gaming.  That is GREAT.  But, not everyone can.  As you say, JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED RUIN IN YOUR LIFE BECAUSE OF EXCESSIVE GAMING, DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT OTHERS DON'T!!  Not all people are like you!
 
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