There are a lot of different types of addiction that people can suffer from, including alcohol, narcotics, and gambling to name a few. But one of the more recent types of addiction to become something that needed treating is addictions to video games. This is in part because of it just being a new technology, but also because of the advances in the technology.
There are a number of local video games (meaning they are played by a player on their console by themselves), but games like that Starcraft have a history in countries such as Korea of players engaging in so many hours of play that they literally die, eschewing social commitments, food, and other bodily functions to just finish one more mission.
Online gaming is fairly new in the grand scheme of addictions, and with new games coming out at a regular pace, seemingly feeding into the addictions. While a number of MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Games) have been around for years, it was not until Everquest, known as EverCrack to those that played the game, that the idea of online video game addictions really came to the forefront.
Online games are different from other video games in that the addictions that come from them do not follow the typical signs of withdrawal from all social interaction as the games themselves feature a great deal of social interaction with the ability to found and join guilds, parties , and raids where the player will need to interact with other live players via voice chat.
That being said, a number of deaths have been attributed to online games, including deaths because of malnourishment and because of suicide as a result of in-game factors. A number of therapists now focus on online addiction treatment and a number of support groups exist to help recovering addicts deal with the repercussions of their addictions.
While the next addition of the DSM will not include video game addiction as a recognized mental disorder, there are numerous therapists that have recognized the issue and are working to treat those with video game addictions. If there is a person in your life that plays video games, particularly online games, it behooves you to pay attention to the number of hours they play the games and to watch their social lives, to make sure they are not pulling away from their social obligations to play video games.