The Swedish Youth Care Foundation has an upcoming report in which they describe World of Warcraft as "the cocaine of the computer games world", indicating that it has been involved in every case of gaming addiction that they have dealt with. As the report is not yet published, it doesn't indicate what other games might be involved.

Swedish news outlet, The Local, interprets this with the headline 'World of Warcraft is as addictive as cocaine', a statement that is neither supported by the quotes, nor apparently supported in fact. The addiction rate for cocaine is 5-6% per use during the first decade and 15-16% per use thereafter. If World of Warcraft were really that addictive, then umpty-million players would be well and truly addicted -- a fact not in evidence. The Local's headline therefore, appears to be purest hype (or as we like to think of it, an attention-getting lie).

There is certainly no doubt that people of all ages, backgrounds, genders and ethnicities can have predilections to non-substance-based addictions, such as sex, gambling, and video games. If you have such an addictive personality (and even if you don't think you do), you should seek professional assistance if any activity begins to interfere with your life and circumstances.

For most people, addiction to World of Warcraft, and its ilk is quite simply not a problem. Who hasn't got a high-level character that's languishing because you've been too busy to raid lately? Maybe you've been out winning an Oscar or running for office in any one of a number of legislatures.

Most of the millions of players of World of Warcraft show no signs whatsoever of addiction. We feel sorry for those that do, just as we feel sorry for those who are addicted to (say) gambling. Addictions are terrible things, but online games aren't causing people to drop out of college en-masse.


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This article was originally published on Massively.