But it's not the whole story. When I started using drugs, I was well-off. Which is how I managed to spend two years as a functioning addict, running a theatre in Notting Hill. There are no two ways about it: having money protects you because, even when it comes to bad habits, the rich get better treatment. My drug dealer had a round-the-clock service straight to your door. Like all the smartest things, you could only procure his services by introduction. He also had good-quality drugs, cut with fewer chemicals.
Techaddiction - ETEC
I had no waiting on cold corners, no pleading or cajoling, no risk of being ripped off or beaten up. This is staggeringly different from the experience of most addicts, who have to pursue their hit with grim ferocity and are often making a choice between food and drugs; clothes and drugs; rent and drugs. I never had to make really stark choices. I got close. But when I did have to make a choice, it was for treatment.
If you have no resources, funding your habit is a full-time job, usually a criminal one. And it's worse for women, who are less likely to commit crime and only have themselves to sell.
So then you have a new set of issues to grapple with: what you have become, what you think of yourself. Self-esteem goes down even further, and your guilt and shame increase. Your problems are getting worse and worse. You spiral down and down. And, of course, drugs help you feel better. This is a vicious circle that drug users with resources have the luxury of avoiding. They may even be able to avoid admitting they are an addict, for a while.
As one former addict told me, she had a mantra: "I am not an addict because I am not on the street, I am not selling my body, my car is taxed, I am paying my mortgage. If you have money, there are none of the acid tests that expose the depth of your problem. You are never forced to find out how far you will go to fund your addiction. Rich drug addicts can replace what they lose or smash — friendships, marriages, china. But there is a downside.
Being rich also means the consequences of "using" are muffled: children won't be taken into care; you won't lose your home; and there are few well-off addicts in prison. If you have endless money, it is more difficult to hit rock bottom. The addiction will probably kill you first. As the literature of Narcotics Anonymous states, the consequences of using are always "jail, institutions or death"; rich or poor, one of these fates will befall you. In this respect drugs are democratic.
Similarly, the emotional life of an addict is classless; it is abject and chaotic. This from a pulled-together articulate woman with years in recovery: "Whether you have money or not, the feelings of self-hatred are exactly the same. You want to stop using and you can't. The combination of physical addiction and emotional compulsion means addicts use in the most inappropriate and dangerous places, be it an alley or an embassy loo.
This isn't for some weird adrenaline kick but from a daily, sometimes hourly, necessity. When I think of some of the places I used, I still shudder. But if you can argue that all addicts are the same, it is in the struggle to get and stay clean that wealth — in the widest sense of the word — can really help. If you are a private patient, you can find a bed in a treatment centre tomorrow. If you are doing it on the state, join the queue. I am 38 now and have been clean for seven years. Being thrown together, with our wildly varying experiences, made us understand there were no extenuating circumstances; we all had to stop taking drugs.
End of story. As one head of treatment explains: "People from every sort of background come together here. When push comes to shove, you have the same issues — shame, fear of intimacy, loneliness, low self-esteem. They are common to each individual who is struggling with addiction. Rehab is its own secluded universe, and while getting clean is hard, staying clean in the outside world is harder, especially if you are not from a comfortable background.
You have everything to deal with at a time you are most vulnerable. You go back to the same flats — if you're off the drugs, the dealers search you out because you may have some cash. And at the same time you are expected to be looking for a job, as you have been told to get off benefits because you are now clean when you are really not ready. And anyway, it's almost impossible to get a job — you're an ex-junkie with a string of convictions who probably left school early.
Even though gaming disorder is not widespread, people should be aware of the amount of time that they spend playing games. They should also monitor the effect that gaming has on their other activities, their physical and mental health, and their relationships with others. Sometimes, excessive gaming can mask another issue, such as depression or anxiety. Seeking help for the underlying issue may put a stop to the over-reliance on video games.
Richard Graham, an expert in technology addiction, has supported the WHO's validation of gaming disorder, but he has also expressed some concern that worried parents may mistake enthusiastic gaming for gaming disorder. Some scholars contributed a paper to the Journal of Behavioral Addictions outlining their concerns about the classification of gaming disorder. They echo Dr. Graham's worries regarding moral panic around gaming habits and people getting an inaccurate diagnosis, especially children and young people.
The authors question the quality of the research base for gaming disorder and stress the difficulties of making a diagnosis. They also take issue with using substance abuse and gambling disorders to formulate the criteria for gaming disorder. However, it is likely that only a small percentage of people who play online and video games will meet the criteria for gaming disorder. Controversy surrounds the diagnosis, and it is clear that further research is necessary.
Those who are worried that gaming may be negatively impacting their health or relationships should speak with a doctor or a mental health professional. Article last reviewed by Mon 16 July Visit our Mental Health category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Mental Health. All references are available in the References tab. Aarseth, E. Van Rooij, A.
Journal of Behavioral Addictions , 6 3 , — Disorders due to addictive behaviours. Internet gaming. Kovess-Masfety, V. Pez, O. Is time spent playing video games associated with mental health, cognitive and social skills in young children? Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology , 51 3 , — Lemmens, J. The Internet Gaming Disorder Scale. Psychological Assessment , 27 2 , — Przybylski, A. Internet gaming disorder: Investigating the clinical relevance of a new phenomenon. The American Journal of Psychiatry , 3 , — Stockdale, L.
Video game addiction in emerging adulthood: Cross-sectional evidence of pathology in video game addicts as compared to matched healthy controls. Journal of Affective Disorders , , — International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction , 1— Wakefield, J. Gaming addiction classified as disorder by WHO.
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Optional Comments max. Send securely. Message sent successfully The details of this article have been emailed on your behalf. Reviewed by Timothy J. Support and criticism Takeaway. Some scholars believe that a diagnosis of gaming disorder in certain children may be incorrect. A structured interview may help to diagnose video game addiction.
How video games affect the brain.
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Researchers have looked into how video games affect a person's brain and behavior. Learn more here.
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Scholars argue that children may be misdiagnosed with gaming disorder.
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