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Game-bling

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently listed “gaming disorder” as an official addictive behavior disorder. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) lists gaming disorder as a “pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences” (WHO, 2018).  In order for gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of “sufficient severity” resulting in significant impairment in an individuals’ personal, familial, social, educational, occupational or other significant areas of functioning. The behavior pattern must be evident for at least 12 months. Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is:  to the exclusion of other…

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Addiction: A Story of Love and Loss

We met when I was 16 years old, and nearly 20 years and several serious relationships later, he remains the love of my life. His smile, his sense of humor, and his ever-giving selflessness are what I loved the most about him. Drugs took that all away. Early on, I wasn’t as concerned about his drug use because he worked full time in construction and went to community college at night. It was 2003, and I lived in the dorms at Temple University. We saw each other on weekends and occasionally during the week; but I had no idea how the disease of addiction was developing.  Looking back now, it makes sense considering his family’s cycle of addiction. His own father had overdosed a few years prior, and other members of his immediate family were in various stages of addiction. For his 22nd birthday, we took a trip to Ft.…

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Avoiding the Social Pressure to Drink

Upcoming holidays like Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day, that are often associated with alcohol, can pose a challenge to people in recovery, as well as to those who are avoiding alcohol for a variety of reasons (i.e., diabetes, depression, pregnancy, taking medication.)  With alcohol and tobacco use being the two most common substance use and addictive disorders, it is important to recognize that events celebrated with alcohol can potentially affect health and well-being.   For some people in recovery, environmental triggers - such as being around people who they would typically drink with, or being in a place where they used to drink or other people are drinking - can be quite a challenge. Both direct pressure (someone offering you a drink) and indirect pressure (just being around other people who are drinking) can contribute to the tension of celebrating these famous holidays. Thoughts of ‘having just one’ or,…

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Super Bowl Gambling

The American Gaming Association estimates 22.7 million Americans plan to wager in this year’s Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams vs. the New England Patriots. The biggest foreseen problem is that many of those people will place bets illegally through bookies or online offshore sports book. There are three common types of gamblers - the professional gambler (who relies on skill rather than luck to make money), the social gambler (who gambles for recreation and considers the cost of gambling to be payment for entertainment), and the problem gambler. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, an estimated four percent of adults (8 million) in the United States either meet the criteria for disordered gambling, or would be considered problem gamblers. Warning Signs of a Gambling Problem Feeling the need to be secretive about gambling Having trouble controlling gambling habits Gambling when you cannot afford to Friends and family…

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