Now on UCSD-TV: When gaming becomes more obsession than game

Dr. Andrew Doan: “I would spend all my time playing (video games) because my research and my medical career was not as exciting as what I could achieve in games.”

Technology plays a large role in our everyday lives. Certainly, it can be a helpful tool — or a distraction.

But is there a point where it becomes a danger?

In the latest edition of “Health Matters,” presented by UCSD-TV, host David Granet interviews Dr. Andrew Doan, a recognized expert in technology and video game addiction, and elicits some surprising responses.

The author of “Hooked on Games,” Dr. Doan practices comprehensive ophthalmology and eye pathology and is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. At Naval Medical Center San Diego, he treats a broad range of eye disorders including eye cancers and tumors.

A self-described former online addict, Dr. Doan also serves as head of addictions & resilience research for the U.S. Navy’s Department of Mental Health. In this riveting 30-minute interview, Doan and Granet discuss the warning signs of online addiction, especially among young people.

Some excerpts:

  • “I’m here because I care about kids and families. Because my family almost got ruined. About 14 years ago, I literally almost took my own life, or I was going to kill my wife. I was addicted to gaming online, and also pornography, and I was playing online about 15 to 100 hours a week, for over 10 years."

  • “I’ll tell you, that thing drove me so much that I’d play for 3-4 hours at night, I did all-nighters, I’d sleep all day on Sundays to catch up on my sleep. Literally, it almost destroyed my health, my emotional health, my relationships with my kids and my wife.”

Upon hearing that, Granet says to Doan: “It’s almost astonishing to me. … Because here you are, at the pinnacle of your field, every parents’ dream for their child. And you almost blew the whole thing off.”

Doan continues:

  • “I didn’t study much in med school. The joke is, it’s much harder to get into med school than it is to graduate…. I had the pick of where I wanted to go to get my Ph.D. So I thought, wow, why work hard to get into the top 5 percent, where I can get average without having to study, because I have a photography memory.”

  • “I would spend all my time playing (video games) because my research and my medical career was not as exciting as what I could achieve in games.”

  • “I didn’t become addicted to gaming until med school, when I was on the Internet playing with, literally, millions of players and the games never ended.”

In some of his final remarks, Doan adds:

  • “In games, you play the most perverted games of what you do in life. … That’s what the kids are learning when they go online. … I say garbage in and garbage out. … There’s some data that suggests that 1 in eleven kids are addicted.”

  • “If you blow out your adrenal gland, whether through cocaine or methamphetamine, or through looking at something you shouldn’t be looking at, through media, it’s going to act the same way.” 

Posted: 10/7/2014 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments

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