About 20 percent of gamers can develop an addiction to games, according to the Wild Horses Center Web site.
They would know. The Wild Horses Center is part of the Smith and Jones addiction intervention and consultant company in Amsterdam. This July, it opens its doors to gaming addicts. The game zone will feature four to eight weeks of intensive detox and a 12-step program for addiction.
There is even a special survival camp running July 10-24, according to the center's Web site. Addicts will experience the forests in Holland and Germany as part of their recovery in an attempt to know the joys of real-life challenges, as opposed to virtual ones. There are also out-patient services.
Last year, the Associated Press reported on the opening of a game-addiction clinic in China. China also instituted three-hour time limits for online gamers last August, voicing concerns over its citizens becoming addicted to online fantasy role-playing.
While addiction is certainly no laughing matter, some of the symptoms the Wild Horses Center cites for gaming addicts are quite unique:
An obsessive desire to "level up"
"Time warping"--losing track of hours or days in the real world
Neglect of romance
Addiction to Red Bull, coffee, cigarettes, soft drugs, speed and possibly cocaine.
An unnatural reaction to violence is also a common concern among those researching the affects of video games.
Now, if only they could do something about the addiction to RSS feeds...