School Decries Game Addiction, Offers Treatment

In an apparent bid to drive enrollment, a Huntsville, Alabama school for struggling teens has issued a press release warning of rising teen gaming addiction in the U.S.

Citing data from a study released earlier this year by the National Institute on Media & the Family, The Pinnacle Schools lists a series of warning signs for gaming addiction, which it notes are “the same as those for alcohol and drug addictions.” Signs include lying, eating meals at the computer while gaming and defiance.

Pinnacle has programs for treating obesity, mood difficulties, lack of motivation, depression, drug & alcohol abuse and online gaming addiction. The school’s physician, Dr. Charles Lee, offered that:

Video/online games stimulate the brain’s “reward centers” which gives the same high drug addicts feel.

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  1. Leet Gamer Jargon says:

    Signs include lying, eating meals at the computer while gaming and defiance.

    Well, the first and last signs sound like normal teenager behavior to me. I’m almost 21, having exited teenagerdom, and I still lie and show defiance, mostly towards my parents.

    As for the eating-meals thing, I’m not gaming right now, but I’m enjoying a steamy bowl of New England clam…Since I have all of the symptoms, does that mean I should be checked in? Graduated in ’06, but I’m sure they’d make an exception…


    Game on, brothers and sisters.

  2. ZAR says:

    And here you see the difference between a school physician and a psychologist. The latter would try to formulate a thesis, why children ARE playing games and thus try to escape a (obviously boring or depressing) reality.

    But, unfortunately, Dr. Charles Lee is only a school physician. If he had to treat a manic depressive he would give him Prozac (or a couple of bourbons or some sweets) to “cure” the patient.


  3. Flamespeak says:

    15 minutes? That will cost you one copy of Bioshock

    All night? Looking at a PS3.

    You can go bareback for an epic mount.

  4. Roh02 says:

    stimulates your reward centers? so does food does that mean I get high when I eat my favourite foods?

    the same as drugs my ass I dont see anyone turning to prostitution to feed their gaming habbit any time soon

  5. gamegod25 says:

    "Signs include lying, eating meals at the computer while gaming and defiance"

    oh dear god no! Next they’ll be leaving the toilet lid up and not returning their shopping carts! It’s anarchy!!!

  6. JustChris says:

    Additionally, the intake of drugs introduces foreign substances to your body. Video games and other activities that produce strong emotions just produce substances that naturally exist already in your body. 

    Drugs are more dangerous because they break down the healthy system of chemical responses and rebuild it around the subtances from the drug. That’s the physical dependency.

    Zero Dominance

  7. Erik says:

    "Video/online games stimulate the brain’s “reward centers” which gives the same high drug addicts feel."

    False.  Anyone who has so much being given a prescription for a pain killer from their doctor know that the high you get from drugs isn’t a reward stimulation.  The high you get from drugs is the high you get from drugs.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  8. nightwng2000 says:

    Let’s make the most appropriate comparison:

    Organized sports.

    An activity which leads to:

    Gambling addiction

    Violent behavior (by participants, spectators, fans, and many others)

    Drug use

    Cheat, lying, and bad sportsmanship

    Addiction to the exercise and competition

    And other factors one could also associate with any other "addiction".


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  9. TJLK says:

    Also similar to the sensation one gets when they LEARN.  You know, solve problems and gain knowledge previously not held.  Something apparently that some schools don’t understand.

  10. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Video/online games stimulate the brain’s “reward centers” which gives the same high drug addicts feel.

    The stimulation from video games is the same as the stimulation from winning at board games. Winning a contest. Being awarded for excellent behavior. etc.

    So I guess all that stuff is the same as drugs as well. Better get some rehab centers open for people who are addicted to excelling at all they do.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
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  11. Cerabret100 says:

    eating meals at the computer while gaming

    I must be one hell of an addict then since lunch at home for me usually involves chowing on some microwave burritos while playing games.

    I mean, that’s so much worse than eating in front of a tv, or a book right?

    PS: best games to play while enjoying a meal, rpg’s or mmo’s. one hand able gameplay and frequent cutscenes or conversations give perfect timing for a quick bite.

  12. djnforce9 says:

    Yeah that was quite an oversight on their part there. I think it’s safe to say that Teen defiance is pretty normal (even with addictions aside) given the desire at that age "explore the social opportunities" and not be held back by those with authority over their lives. I doubt video games have anything to do with it.

  13. Krono says:

    "Signs include lying, eating meals at the computer while gaming and defiance."

    Because no teen has ever been defiant unless they were addicted to something.


  14. Valdearg says:

    "That is the greatest picture for an article since we had that JT in a hawaiin shirt pic."

    I was just thinking the same thing.

  15. Hmm says:

    I actually liked the baking cookies idea.  The idea of replacing an unhealthy activity with a more healthy/productive one sounds good to me, cuz I mean honestly will they have to eat the cookies?  Plus baking and cooking are really great hobbies especially when you can make a profit from them.

    I also like the schools wanting to help out in offering up warning signs.  I mean just giving people a list of warning signs and treatments isn’t curing the kids for them its making them aware and supposed to at least make parents pay attention to their children (hopefully anyway).  And offering them help and resources if the parents can’t figure out what to do on their own is a good idea.  I say Kudos to them for at least offering an option for parents who don’t have a clue.  Those who do can disregard the info.


  16. Austin_Lewis says:

    That is the greatest picture for an article since we had that JT in a hawaiin shirt pic. 


    Of course, the National Institute on Media & the Family is a wonderful source for datasets.  This is every bit as ridiculous as the whole baking cookies is the cure thing we had going on in that article yesterday.  Honestly, schools need to keep their hands out of the household except in rare instances.  Child abuse?  That’s an exception.  But they don’t need to tell parents how to raise their kids; if the parents don’t already know, chances are the school’s not going to help inform them, and when the school acts in a way to inflame fear, that’s counterproductive to finding and solving real problems.

  17. djnforce9 says:

    When will they realize that this so called "Game addiction" is an "effect", not a "cause". In other words, try and treat the underlying problem (Depression? Boredom and lack of better things to do?) and perhaps the attachment to video games will die down.


    The only type of game I can see someone actually getting truely addicted to is MMORPGs like World of Warcraft because the game carries on with or without you (it’s not something you can pick up and put down at will especially during raids which take a very long time to organize properly) and you are always being billed for playing whether you actually do or do not (I’ve seen people rage on forums for being suspended for just a couple hours in WoW). Even at though, there still may be other psychological reasons someone would rather play in the fantasy world than live in the real one.


    Another problem, I don’t feel it’s fair that games in general be classified in the same category as "drugs" or as Jack Thompson called it, "mental masturbation". This implies that playing a video game is just like smoking weed when it is not. For some people (myself included), it is more of a hobby of which stimulates imagination (I notice this a lot whenever I try to read a novel as what I read becomes very vivid to me), reflexes, and (depending on the game) even teamwork skills. It also manages to relieve stress and other harmful emotions if you choose the correct game to play. People could just as easily drain several hours of their life looking over their stamp collection if that is what fascinates them.

  18. DarkSaber says:

    Yes, because there is absolutely NO chance the school will exagerrate or mis-represent symptoms in order in to increase their enrollment…. (they already ARE doing it, just look at what the physician says.)


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  19. DarkSaber says:

    The school’s physician, Dr. Charles Lee, got his qualifications from a cereal box promotion it seems.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

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