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5 Ways to Prevent World of Warcraft Addiction

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Video Game Addiction is real. It hasn't been included in the DSM, but is increasingly being recognized as a clinical mental disorder, especially after the game-related deaths of several addicts. So while it's easy to say, "It's just a game," for addicts, it is in fact the game that has become their entire reality. World of Warcraft ("WoW") is particularly problematic, perhaps because it is an MMORPG - a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game - which gives you the illusion of socializing simply because there are so many other people playing at the same time. Here are some ideas to help you fight the addiction, or prevent World of Warcraft addiction from occurring in the first place. While it is formatted to address the addict herself, these same ideas can be used to help battle a WoW addiction in a child, friend, or spouse.

1. Admit that you have a problem, or that you're going to have one very shortly. While it may be easy for other people to tell, a video game addict is often so immersed in their "game-reality" that they are utterly blind to the situation. Take a quiz like the World of Warcraft Addiction test so that you can honestly assess the situation. Even if you don't qualify as an addict according to the test, however, you should be on the lookout for signs of an encroaching addiction. Are you playing more than 4 continuous hours every day? Have you noticed any changes in your body? If you can't look at yourself honestly, you're never going to be able to quit a game that is literally life-threatening.

2. Realize who you've hurt and what you've neglected. Most Wow addicts have had at least one relationship that has crumbled due to their game playing. This is often a girlfriend or boyfriend, but can just as easily be a parent or co-worker. In addition, you've probably noticed your performance slipping at school or work. Write down all of the people that have been negatively affected by your playing WoW.

3. Recognize your triggers. Most addicts, be it of drugs or computer games, have a particular activity, person, or situation that "triggers" their using; thus, the addiction becomes a part of life's daily routine. To get out of it, think hard about when you especially feel the desire to play WoW; when you have a fight with your parents? After a disappointing stint on the scale? When a certain friend shows up on Instant Messenger? Write these triggers down, and be aware that if you can eliminate the situation, or at least eliminate your reaction to it, you are far less likely to feel that desire.

4. Get rid of temptation. This one is easy but crucial. Delete or give away your account, have a friend change the password, cancel your subscription, and delete the application. You may want to break the discs themselves if you think you might use them to reinstall the game during a moment of weakness.

5. Transition to another activity. One of the most common comments that are made by WoW addicts (on www.wowaholicsanonymous.org) is, "What else would I be doing with my time? Nothing." This is where the problem is. Find some other activity that either gets you out of house completely or at the least gets you off the computer. Think about what sports you used to enjoy, or what activities you used to do with friends. You can start slowly, incorporating these activities into your daily life, and you'll soon discover that you've lost the desire to play altogether.

Melissa Tamura writes about online degrees for Zen College Life. She most recently ranked the best online colleges.

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