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Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest

The Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest brings together addiction and mental health service providers, researchers and subject matter experts in the fields of gambling, technology/Internet use and video gaming to collaborate and share knowledge on emerging trends and clinical best practices.

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This individual seems to be leaving out some key addiction theory and accepted facts within her explanation.

1) The idea that addiction has to lead to physical health issues, such as needing a transplant - we tend to only see this in substance use addictions as physical drugs interact more directly with the body. If we work under this assumption though that you can only become addicted to substances, not behaviours, we need to discount the evidence that we have build over decades that behavioural addictions (mainly gambling as it's the best researched) display similar brain changes as substance use and has a lot of overlap.

2) She seems to discount the accepted idea that addiction exists on a spectrum. By stating that people with addiction become homeless and need heart surgery, it implies that someone with alcoholism who gets help and recovers before becoming homeless or needing sever medical treatment was never really addicted, and that only sever addictions cause issues and distress. Not only does this go against the DSM definition of addiction, it also goes against what many addiction experts are saying (Gabor Mate talks about this very well in Realm of Hungry Ghosts).

3) That labeling something as and addiction automatically takes away the client's power. This is really subjective and depends on the client. I've had clients with illegal drug use that they don't want to call an addiction due to self-stigma, but I've also had clients with gambling and video game who (after discussion on what the clinical definition of addiction is) find the idea of calling an addiction impowering. By naming it, they are no longer viewing it as a lack of willpower or self-control, but as a mental health disorder that they are receiving treatment for and working on.

4) She also simply rejects the currently accepted clinical definition of addiction: "Addiction is repeated involvement with anything, despite excessive costs, because of cravings" (Sex, Drugs, Gambling, & Chocolate by Dr. A. T. Horvath). So yes, a "habit" that has gotten out of hand is exactly what an addiction is.

If we were to work under her assumptions that addictions only count as addiction if they are A) using a substance and B) at a sever intensity, we would fail to provide service to countless people who have been shown countless times through research to need clinical interventions. Those interventions might not be as intensive as it would for someone with a sever substance use disorder, but it is still needed. To borrow from problem gambling research (as that has the most evidence of the behavioral addictions), people with gambling addiction have the highest rate of suicide attempts of any other addiction (about 1 in 5). It might not be liver failure, but these individuals are still dying. People who would be missed if we went with the above assumptions. Overall, I find this video to actually be dangerously misleading as it is an oversimplification of a very complex issue that has limited research (due to the newness of cell phones in their current state).

Yes, I also agree. The physician does state having an addiction can lead to individuals losing their jobs and ruining relationships however seems to suggest this isn’t possible with excessive phone use. I would challenge that believe. Employees who are more engaged on their devices than doing work could certainly be faced with job loss and it is evident that device use can have negative impacts on our relationships. My thought is this is a way to gain some media attention while playing with language.

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