World Of Warcraft ‘more addictive than crack cocaine’ as teenager suffers convulsions after 24-hour-long game
An internet computer game has been condemned as being as addictive as cocaine after a teenager who played it 24 hours non-stop had convulsions.
World of Warcraft has been hugely successful in capturing the imagination of players by drawing them into a virtual universe of battles and quests.
However, it is at the centre of a growing problem of computer game addiction.
Highly addictive: World of Warcraft has been described by experts as the crack cocaine of the gaming world
Many players will sit alone in their rooms for hours at a time, immersed in the lives of their fantasy character creations – or Avatars.
Some 11milion around the globe play World of Warcraft – making it the world’s most successful ‘MMORPG’ – massively multi-player online role-playing game.
However, a report from Sweden’s Youth Care Foundation describes it as ‘the most dangerous game on the market’.
The report’s author Sven Rollenhagen said: ‘There is not a single case of game addiction that we have worked with in which World of Warcraft has not played a part.
‘It is the crack cocaine of the computer game world. Some will play it till they drop.’
The Swedish National Institute of Public Health has backed the report, adding: ‘Computer game addiction is becoming more widespread across the world.’
The warning comes after a Swedish boy of 15 collapsed after playing it for for 24 hours earlier this month.
Hospital doctors diagnosed an epileptic-type seizure brought on by sleep deprivation, lack of food, and too long a stretch of concentrated game playing. He has made a full recovery.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one to two hours per day of ‘screen time’.
Psychiatrist Dr Richard Graham of London’s Tavistock Centre said: ‘Some of my clients will discuss playing games for 14, 16 hours a day at times, without breaks and without attending to their physical needs.
‘For those, the consequences are potentially severe.
‘Such prolonged gaming can produce a sort of socially withdrawn figure who may be connecting with people in the game, but is largely dropping out of education and other social opportunities.’