However, if we pursue the argument that gambling may not be directly an addiction risk, but rather a symptom of a larger problem or other underlying mental health issues, could you please consider: do the same for alcohol and drugs?
“If you secretly mix heroin with someone’s food,” says Ferguson, “over time he might get addicted without even realizing it until it’s too late. There are physiological mechanisms that will cause addiction. A lot of people are addicted to caffeine and wake up every day and need a coffee or a Pepsi. And they can’t function without it and have built up a tolerance so they need more and more coffee to get the kick out. If they try to quit, they will have a headache, fatigue, and be irritable. There is no such equivalent in the game when it comes to the concept of tolerance and withdrawal.
It was heartwarming to hear, as I have used games to break addictive patterns in my life. The biggest problem I have is checking my phone for emails. Left unchecked, it could result in using the screen late at night, on weekends, or when I’m supposed to be on vacation.
Take this article: As soon as I sent the pitch, I turned off my computer and got my BittBoy (a retro portable game console) to play 10 minutes of Tetris attack on the Super Nintendo (I set a timer). It provides me with the dopamine “reward” that I expected from an immediate email response. This means that I can forget the email and go back to work. But is there a science behind my new habits?
“The easy answer is, yes, you absolutely can play as a reward,” says Ferguson.
“It’s a complicated situation because dopamine does a lot of things, but you’ll see dopamine levels spike just before you do something exciting. It’s like when you get to the front of the line at Space Mountain at Disney World after a one hour queue. And it could be exactly like receiving an email from a really good pitch.
Ferguson then tells me that dopamine levels rise by about 50 to 100 percent when you first play a game, and that’s a perfectly normal response to any pleasurable activity: from eating pizza to sex (compare this to using methamphetamine, which can increase levels by 1,300 percent). On the other hand, dopamine side, it’s good to play a game, and you won’t have the same regrets after eating pizza or (maybe) sex.
I’m worried about how gambling affects young minds because my 4 year old daughter has just started playing with my iPad. I’m worried that she will develop an unhealthy relationship with games, like I did and like her grandmother did. Sarah Coyne, associate director of the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, allays my fears.
“There is so much research on the positive uses of video games,” she says. “How can this help with social relationships and mental and cognitive health issues?” “
“Video games are a really powerful tool and you can use them for better or for worse,” she continues. “And so you want to make sure that whatever you’re doing is really working for you. If you are too restrictive with kids then they will rebel and just want the restricted content and the forbidden fruit kind of idea.
Coyne says there isn’t a lot of research on the effects of having a parent who abused gambling as a hobby, but the only advantage I have is that my mom played games that didn’t. were not violent. This is the kind of game that I prefer, especially the puzzle games that offer a brain experience and the fun of solving problems.
“If you play mindful video games, or play video games that connect you or help you think about the world, it will have a radically different effect on Grand Theft Auto,Coyne says.