Addiction

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Not to be confused with Magical addiction.

Addiction to World of Warcraft and other online games is an early, but growing area of psychological research, and should be a concern for dedicated players. WoW can be a healthy and enjoyable form of entertainment, but it can also lead to unhealthy obsession, and adversely affect a player's relationships with family and friends, and performance at work and school.

"Internet gaming addiction can be defined as a compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one's school or work environment. For the gaming addict, the game becomes a compulsive habit that completely dominates the addict's life. Gaming addicts make the Internet a priority more important than family, friends, and work. The game becomes the organizing principle of addicts' lives. They are willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue their unhealthy behavior."

- Dr. Kimberly Young of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery.

Note: There is a large amount of media hype surrounding this issue, and what may look like dangerous compulsion to one person, is merely another's preferred pastime. Most of the issues discussed in this article and related articles are not specific to World of Warcraft.

Possible symptoms of addiction

Behavioral

  • Playing associated with strong feelings of guilt and pleasure
  • Significant hours spent playing, interfering with work, social, and family life.
  • Lying about the time spent on the game.
  • Can't control one's playing.

Physical

  • Deteriorating fitness/weight gain.
  • Repetitive strain injury/carpal tunnel.
  • Neck and back pain.
  • Headaches.
  • Poor/irregular eating habits.
  • Neglect of personal hygiene.

Related reading