A response to Blaszczynski, Griffiths and Turners’ Comments on the Paper “Problems with the Concept of Video Game ‘Addiction’: Some Case Study Examples” (this issue)

Abstract

The concept of video game ‘addiction’ has received little academic discussion despite the proliferation of the term in popular media and the increasing number of clinics purporting to ‘treat’ the ‘disorder.’ The current debate included in this issue is therefore both refreshing and overdue. Accordingly, I have tried to address the previous comments and further expand upon my explanation of why I believe video game ‘addiction’ is a flawed concept. Griffiths (2007) points out that in my paper I do not put forward my own definition of addiction. The reason why I do not define addiction in this context is because I would argue that addiction is a term for defining a psychological process, involving the relationship between an individual and any particular activity or substance, rather than a label referring to a specific activity or substance in itself. Formulating different ‘types’ of addiction by activity can create a great deal of confusion within the addiction field because it places so much emphasis on the activity or substance, and implies that all addictions are fundamentally different. Whilst addiction involving different substances and activities may exhibit some unique symptoms, the core psychological processes involved appear to be fairly universal, such that an addiction to several substances and/or activities is fairly common (Baker 2000; Black and Moyer 1998; Lesieur and Heineman 1998; Christenson et al. 1994; Feigelman et al. 1998; Shaffer et al. 2004; Wood et al. 2004). Furthermore, Griffiths and Davies (2005) amongst others have previously made the point that any behaviour that is rewarding can be addictive. However, from this perspective, it makes little sense to label any particular activity or substance as inherently ‘addictive’ given that rewards are subjective. For example, running a marathon is one person’s idea of heaven and another person’s idea of hell. Some people like to drink to get drunk, whilst other people deplore the feeling of getting even slightly inebriated. Therefore, whilst some activities or substances may be generally more rewarding than others we should be careful of denoting them as ‘types’ of addiction. Nevertheless, warning the public of the dangers of excessive involvement can be useful. Similarly, the unregulated promotion of activities or substances that are associated with more frequent problems in society is probably not wise. Int J Ment Health Addiction (2008) 6:191–193 DOI 10.1007/s11469-008-9147-3

DOI: 10.1007/s11469-008-9147-3

Cite this paper

@article{Wood2008ART, title={A response to Blaszczynski, Griffiths and Turners’ Comments on the Paper “Problems with the Concept of Video Game ‘Addiction’: Some Case Study Examples” (this issue)}, author={Richard T. A. Wood}, journal={International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction}, year={2008}, volume={6}, pages={191-193} }