Expert: 40 Percent of World of Warcraft Players Addicted

My colleague, psychologist Maressa Orzack at McLean Hospital outside of Boston, believes that up to 40% of World of Warcraft gamers are “addicted” to the game.

Just to clarify, since the headline doesn’t make it clear (and neither does the ensuing Slashdot discussion), Dr. Orzack is not claiming that up to 40% of Word of Warcraft gamers are addicted based upon any actual evidence or surveys of players. This is just her opinion, based upon her own experience and observation of the problem.

I chalk “gaming addiction” right up there with Internet addiction — it’s a ridiculous claim to say someone is addicted to an activity they enjoy and call it a “serious mental disorder.” If I spend 5 or 10 hours a day reading a book or hanging out with my friends, am I addicted to reading? To socializing? Where do we draw the line, and more importantly, why make such arbitrary distinctions in labels?