Dopamine and WoW Addiction
Emily Yoffe at Slate has written a great article about why the Internet is so addictive. The primitive human desire to search for things - food and sex - is a powerful one that drives our will to live. The neurotransmitter - dopamine - underlies this will to search and according to Panskepp, a neuroscientist, humans are able to get just as excited about abstract rewards as tangible ones. This is where the connection to WoW addiction comes in... when we get excited about WoW, we are fulfilling our bodies "search and survive" mechanism. In WoW, we are constantly searching for booty and discovering newew places with even better booty to help our character survive.
According to Panskepp, dopamine "promote states of eagerness and directed purpose," which is what draws a lot of people to WoW. We are happy when we feel we have purpose and in WoW addiction, this feeling feels go good to Wowaholics that they always have to play WoW to reach that mental state. It is a circuit that builds and builds on itself to the detriment to a person's real life.
This article raises the question of whether atypical antipsychotics: clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, and ziprasidone may be helpful in combating video game addiction.