Author: Justin Mckibben
Let’s talk about Pokémon Go, why not? Considering literally everyone else in the world is, why shouldn’t we get in on the action? Ever since this new phenomenon has hit the streets in the form of an interactive smartphone app that is quickly consuming the lives of customers all over America there have been some pretty intense stories. It seems the game is probably one of the most instantaneously addictive things on the market right now, so of course it brings to mind previous conversations on:
I can personally say I was pretty amused when my roommate stumbled out of his room at 2 AM in his underwear chasing invisible creatures through the apartment via his phone like a mad man…
Apparently, there is some rare breed of something hiding in my closet… but I digress…
People have become obsessed overnight with this game. It seems any time you walk into a room with anyone around the age of… being alive… you are going to be an obstacle in their mission of hunting some pixelated Pokémon. Some people are worried about how obsessed people have become. Others insist it has done wonders for their mental health. So I wanted to take a look at some of these interesting theories.
What is it?
Essentially Pokémon Go is a game based on a Nintendo-owned franchise that was especially popular in the late 1990’s. This new smartphone game uses a phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when people are in the game. Then it makes Pokémon “appear” around you.
No, not literally… but you can see them through your phone camera on the screen… so basically real life, right?
The idea is to go and catch them. Different and more types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is.
First let us say that many of these claims can’t be fully legitimized at this time. However, Twitter users seem confident in what they see happening with others and experiencing themselves regarding mental health and Pokémon Go. One Twitter user put it as:
“Pokémon Go is literally making people with depression and anxiety and agoraphobia leave the house and explore and socialize.”
Which when you examine the nature of the game does actually make some sense. Pokémon Go requires users to go into the outside world and explore to find Pokémon and items.
Many players have said that the game gives them an incentive to get out of the house and be active. It inspires some to exercise and spend time outdoors, while having fun and interacting with others. Now if you look at it this way, how could it not do some good for mental health?
I honestly had to wonder this myself when the game was first announced. As I watched co-workers and friends wonder aimlessly through parking lots and gather together to share their latest catches, I figured this was giving us a new way to get outside more and get active with one another. Maybe it’s not so bad, right?
Then there is the argument of if the trade-off is worth it for having teens and young adults yet again dragged too deep into their phones. This concern also makes sense to me. If you have this new obsession with constantly striving to “catch em all” then how will your personal relationships and responsibilities suffer? I don’t know anyone personally, but you can be sure a few people have already lost their jobs or blown off their dates to chase Pikachu around a grocery store.
Pokémon Related Injury
This is one side-effect I definitely saw coming, but I was not aware of the magnitude that it might manifest in. Already Pokémon– related injuries are being reported all over the country. So many people have admitted in social media forums that they completely forgot where they were, dropping all focus on their surroundings.
One Reddit user’s story has made the rounds online about ending up in the ER on night after falling into a ditch and fracturing bones in their foot 30 minutes into playing the game. There are even accounts of drivers getting into traffic accidents because they were playing the game out the window while driving.
To be fair, the makers of the game did make a warning to be aware of surroundings.
Risky Rocket Business
This should be taken as a serious warning if nothing else. The game has been notably misused already. Police in O’Fallon, Missouri have reported four people suspected of armed robberies involving Pokémon Go. The suspects reportedly placed beacons, which are a feature available in the game to interact with the surroundings, to lure people to their locations where they robbed them. 11 teenagers have been mugged this way so far, according to this initial report.
So #TeamRocket is becoming an actual thing… and they are freaking people out. Is this gaming addiction really that serious? Do people really need to risk their lives, or the lives of others, for these imaginary monsters?
Most Addictive App Ever?
Some are already calling Pokémon Go the most addictive gaming app ever. It has experienced a number of technical issues since its launch, including server crashes and other issues. Still, for a FREE gaming app with all this hype, it is doing pretty well for itself. Looking back there was Pokémon Blue and other titles for the franchise. People have been working their way up to this all along.
The question remains- what could this do for people’s mental health? If it really is that addictive, what consequences will it reap on those who have a tendency of taking things too far? Will we see a spike in gaming addiction and obsessive behaviors? Or will it actually have a mixed impact as it lures people out of their homes and into their communities. Some surprising testimonies have told how random strangers in a community come together, united over the teams they choose and to make strategies for how to play.
So next time you see someone blindly following their phone into on-coming traffic… maybe they are just trying to track down a Evee or a Squirtle? Maybe you should save them from themselves and keep them on the sidewalk… or some of you will probably hope to have the Pokémon to yourself… FOR SHAME!
Addiction can involve behaviors not related to taking drugs or drinking excessively. You can be addicted to the internet, gaming, gambling, sex, eating, or any other behavior that is causing problems in your life, such as destroying relationships, your health, or interfering with your job. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call us at 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
It’s Friday! Hope you had a wonderful week. This week, we wrap up the top crazy news stories that circulated all over social media. Tons of stories this week grabbed our attention and these are just a few that stood out to me that relate to addiction. Which one stood out to you?
1. Kris Jenner Offers Son $1 Million to Check Into Rehab
Would a million dollars get you sober? Kris Jenner seems to think it might work for her son. Recent reports have revealed that Kris Jenner is trying to get her son, Rob Kardashian sober by offering him a $1 million to check into rehab.
Rob Kardashian had struggled with weight gain and is rumored to have an addiction to painkillers, Xanax and other substances. The 28-year-old was recently diagnosed with type-2 diabetes after being rushed to the hospital for stomach problems in December.
“She thinks that one way to get through to him might be by using money,” a source close to the Kardashian family stated.
However, getting Rob Kardashian sober might not be Kris Jenner’s only motivation.
“Kris looks at Rob’s health crisis as a potential storyline for the show,” said the source. “She wants him to let cameras inside of his struggle because she believes that his downward spiral would make for great ratings.”
Jenner has reportedly ordered a private chef, psychologist, nutritionist and therapist to help her son, yet according to sources, she still has yet to go to the hospital to visit him personally.
2. Newlyweds Come Home to Airbnb Guests’ Cocaine-Fueled Orgy
I’ve heard of horrible wedding night stories but this one tops the cake. A couple, Justin Smith and Francisco Peres, came home on their wedding night to find a coke-fueled orgy happening in their home. First, we must premise this story by saying the couple had allowed renters to stay in their Montreal apartment through Airbnb after forgetting to disable instant booking.
If you do not know what Airbnb is, it’s a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging to each other. It basically works as a hotel however you are booking rooms in people’s homes and not hotel rooms. The couple had forgotten to remove the “instant booking” feature which allows customers to reserve a room without having to get approved from the host.
After realizing their error, the couple tried to cancel the reservation because it was their wedding night; however the guests begged and begged to stay since it was New Year’s Eve. They reluctantly agreed. Imagine their surprise when the newlyweds walked in and saw the place was a mess, with half the food in their kitchen eaten and the living room filled with garbage.
It gets worse. After grudgingly going to sleep, the couple was awoken to sounds at 5 a.m. of snorting cocaine, loud bangs and drunken stumbling and sex sounds. The morning after the aftermath, they awoke to strangers perusing their home. The renters apologized profusely and left a note seeking forgiveness for their behavior. They also helped to clean up the mess of the night.
“They’re like, 20-22, just being dumb kids but did their best to make it right,” Smith noted. “Still less than ideal way of starting my day, but could have been worse.”
3. Middle School Teacher Coach Charged with Taking Student’s Pills
A middle school teacher is facing felony charges for reportedly stealing her student’s antidepressant medication. Tania Gerving, who worked at Horizon Middle School in Bismarck, North Dakota, has been placed on administrative leave while officials conduct a full investigation. From Sept. 12. To Oct. 12, police placed surveillance camera in the school and observed Gerving entering an area where the school stored medication and opening a bottle sitting on the counter. She then put the pills in her pocket before placing the bottle back on the counter.
Officer Joshua Brown said Gerving has admitted to taking the pills without permission. She is not responsible for administering medication and would have no reason to handle them. Gerving was sentenced to jail with a set bail at $1500. She is not allowed to enter areas within Bismarck Public School District where controlled substances are stored and must wear a drug patch as a condition of her bond. Further action will depend on what happens with the criminal complaint in court.
4. Internet Addict Develops Painful Disease
Apparently, social media is bad for more than just your mental health. It can actually have serious physical side effects too. A notorious internet addict has developed a painful disease from hunching over her computer. Michele Gore spent 23 hours a day online at one point, which caused her to develop a painful stomach disease called Tietze disease at the age of 21.
After visiting her doctor, she was told that her addiction had put a strain on her rib cartilage, causing the inflammatory disorder – which is characterized by chest pain and swelling between the upper ribs. As a result, he was told to significantly reduce her time online. She realized the day after Christmas how much her addiction was controlling her life.
“I had the laptop wire round my leg, my headphones around my neck, my mobile under my pillow, my tablet charging on my bedside table and my Xbox and PlayStation controls at the foot of the bed. I thought, ‘this isn’t normal’,”she said.
Gore is now spending time away from the internet and is seeking professional treatment for her addiction. She hopes to raise awareness about the reality of internet addiction to others who may be suffering.
5. Tucson Starbucks Plans to Add Liquor to Menu
Residents at a local Starbucks chain are drinking more than coffee these days. A Starbucks at Tucson, Arizona is adding booze to its menu. A few years ago, select Starbucks locations began selling liquor as part of their “evening menu.” Now, many Starbucks locations are jumping on board.
Many customers are excited about the possibility of having a shot along with their double shot of espresso. Starbuck’s first announced in 2010 that they were considering adding wine and craft beer to the menu to help boost business after 4 p.m. when sales tend to dwindle.
However, some customers are concerned about their local coffee shop turning into a bar.
“Downside is that Starbucks has never really been an alcohol type of place so it could change just based on the environment,” customer Ben Strobeck said.
The city council will unanimously vote to approve the liquor license on Tuesday, Jan. 5. If the city council does approve the application, it would then move to the State Liquor Board, which has the final say. If all passes approval, alcohol could be at the Tucson location as early as spring.
There you have it. Your crazy news stories of the week. Now, you can feel grateful you are healthy and happy in your life in sobriety. However, if you are struggling, remember you are not alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
It seems most of the nation has finally had their eyes opened to the reality of the situation, there is a very real heroin epidemic in America. This is a sometimes inconspicuous but still intense illness that affects all people, across gender, socioeconomic, age, and ethnic lines. And that’s becoming more and more apparent as a heroin and other opiates continue to take lives in homes across every cultural barrier.
But where did it come from? What caused it and who is to blame?
We could point the proverbial finger at the over-prescribing or crooked doctors, or we could point it at the patients.
We could blame the pharmaceutical tyrants or the faltering politicians that allowed them to run rampant for so long.
We could definitely find some fault in the war in Afghanistan and the policies from a War on Drugs that has failed miserably.
Indeed we should blame all these things.
There is an abundance of reasons we have a heroin/opiate epidemic in this country, and plenty of blame to go around, but let us just focus on one in particular today; the internet!
Easy Access Online
As much as we love them internets, we have to also give it its due responsibility for this plague on our people. The internet created a forum for easy access to prescription drugs without a doctor’s approval, and it can be so easy it is no wonder the epidemic didn’t get worse faster.
According to some reports, all one needs to do to fully understand the complexity of the internet’s black market selling pharmaceutical drugs illegally is to go to StreetRx.com.
This website actually gathers user-submitted information across the country on street prices of diverted prescription drugs, as well as illicit drugs.
Reviews of the site attest that users can anonymously view, post and rate submissions in a format offering price transparency to an otherwise cloudy underground marketplace.
The information provided on this site is actually quite detailed. Just a few examples of information one might find includes:
- $60 Reasonable OxyContin (hard to crush) 60 mg Hartford, CT
- $25 Cheap OxyContin (old OC-crushable) 20 mg Wiscasset, ME
- $3.75 Reasonable Methadone 10 mg Hartford, CT
- $15 Pricey Oxycodone 15 mg Burlington, VT
- $3 Overpriced Oxycodone 5 mg Providence, RI
- $10 Overpriced Dilaudid 2 mg Worcester MA
Evolution of the Dark Web
The Dark Web has seen some serious exposure lately after the arrest of infamous digital drug dealer Ross Ulbricht AKA “Dread Pirate Roberts” who had created the vast online drug den known as Silk Road before being tracked down and having the site dismantled.
Still, plenty of smartphone apps like Instagram have been manipulated for facilitating illegal transactions and making connections with dealers, and plenty of other drugs are bought online through sites just like Silk Road.
The luxury and simplicity by which one can unlawfully purchase mind altering drugs with just a simple click of the mouse has made a substantial contribution and propelled the heroin epidemic. As a result, prescription opiate painkillers are very easily obtained and once someone gets hooked on them for long enough many will switch to heroin, because these days the drug is only getting more pure and cheaper.
Considering this, you can forget what you thought you knew about how this drug has evolved and who the primary consumer it. A heroin addict looks nothing like what most used to assume. Now heroin is a white suburban disease, with women in their 20’s and 30’s among the most rapidly increasing group of heroin users.
Changing the Status
The internet, social media and online shopping have all done their part to turn this virtual world into a viscerally disturbing reality of drugs and disease. But not all the blame should be placed on the internet, and in many ways it has done some good. By utilizing blogs, chat forums, videos and social media there are various organizations and authorities who have taken to the internet to create efforts for raising awareness. Message boards and even hashtags (#) have been linked to these movements to share information and provide resources.
And of course, how could we talk about the internet as if it doesn’t provide us with this versatile platform to have this conversation?
Heroin overdose is killing in rapid numbers, and there is no spyware or control-alt-delete answer for it. But more than the internet is to blame, we have to stop looking around for places to point the finger and ask ourselves what we have done to contribute to a healthy and fruitful future for this country. Click, like and share that.
As a society using the internet for so much of our communication and information, it is no wonder that it has made drug dealing and addiction a more “convenient” and consistent trend. With it comes death in devastating numbers, but it doesn’t have to be. There is help for those who want it. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
Pornography Addiction: Is it real?
Currently, porn addiction is not a diagnosis listed in DSM-5. “Viewing online pornography” is mentioned in the diagnostic manual but, it is not considered a mental disorder either.
The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) now includes a section for behavioral addictions; however, includes only one such disorder: pathological gambling, or gambling addiction (also compulsive gambling). Also as it stands right now, there is only one other behavioral addiction proposed for further study in the DSM-5, and that is internet gaming disorder. Due to a lack of research, porn addiction is not currently being considered an addition to this ‘behavioral addiction’ section of the manual.
Pornography Addiction: XXX Edition
Although not recognized as a real disorder at the time of this writing, there are many people out there who would argue that viewing porn can – and does – become an addiction for some.
Let’s break down what we understand about porn addiction.
Identifying an porn addict
Again, although not recognized in the DSM-5, therapists are beginning to take the condition seriously when it comes to their practices. Further, it can be argued that porn addiction is as real as any other in that the same criteria used for determining whether someone is addicted to porn are much the same as the ones used to identify other addictions. These criteria mainly revolve around the dependence on the behavior or substance (in this case, pornography) at the expense of other aspects of life.
For instance, if your viewing, reading, or thinking about pornography is negatively impacting your life, interfering with your work, your personal relationships, your family life, and/or your social interactions, it has become a problem.
Some porn addicts can’t perform sexually without the stimulation of pornography and often build a up a tolerance, similarly to that which occurs with drug addiction. Porn addiction may be a part of a more extensive sex addiction.
Five Stages of Porn Addiction
- Early exposure
Most people who become addicted to porn have been exposed to it at an early age. They see the stuff when they are very young, making an impression. This can be the beginning of certain obsessions and fetishes.
After a while, you start to look for more and more graphic porn. You start using porn that would have disgusted you when you started. Now, it’s something that excites you.
Eventually, you become numb. Even the most graphic, degrading porn doesn’t excite you anymore. You become desperate to feel the same thrill again but can’t find it. Again, this is similar to drug addiction in that you are chasing that ‘high’ you used to get earlier on in your porn use.
- Acting out sexually
At this point, you might make the dangerous leap to start acting out sexually on your specific fantasies. Basically, at this point, your sexual obsessions have moved from porn magazines and porn web sites out into the real world.
This is basically been developing all along. But now, you’re experiencing full-blown porn addiction. You keep going back to porn; it’s the only thing that gets you off. Porn becomes a regular part of your life. You’re hooked. You don’t feel like you can quit.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug addiction or a behavioral addiction, help is available. Many times, people with a history of addiction replace their previous addictions with other obsessions. This is common. But help is available in the form of specialized treatment designed to address the underlying issues of an addiction, or multiple addictions. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Thinking about it makes me wonder if we will one day truly be trapped in the matrix. Will we lose real reality in being brainwashed by gigabytes and used up like batteries for the ever advancing and expanding power of technology? I mean, I’d love to learn Kung-Fu in 5 seconds and dodge bullets, but… nah.
It is a reality that we are slowly but surely being reprogrammed by the internet. Not so hard to believe with it being such a constant presence in our lives. Its the legacy of the smartphones, all hail free wifi. I can honestly say in the past I have pondered on how the constant growth and innovation of iPhones and app interface might affect our genetic evolution or natural instincts, and I honestly can’t say it’s all that crazy to consider. Here are just 4 ways the internet is reprogramming us.
- The ‘F’ Affect
Thanks to the Internet, amazing social media and the exciting dialect of texting many believe we are writing our history as a post-literate society. The prominence of blogs and ‘articles’ plastered with more moving images or GIFS than words supports this idea, but one thing is definite; according to research conducted by both Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) and Mediative, this type of online reading content is altering the way we read.
Our eyes have been trained up to this point to read information by quickly skipping horizontally from one word to the next, then back to the start of the next line. Nowadays that’s too old school, and the internet has given us a new (but not much improved) method.
NNG refers to it as the “F-Shaped Pattern”, Mediative calls it the “Golden Triangle”, but either way it means when we are screen reading (i.e., reading on Internet-connected computer screens, smartphones, e-book readers, etc.), our eyes make a triangle or F-shape down the page:
So instead of regularly reading from this complete line to the next line
We have adapted to trying to skim corners of text
Where our minds typically associate with
The most important information,
Something like this
- Proteus Effect
Anyone who has ever played a video game where they have had to design an avatar knows how stressful it can be to try and create the perfect look. Subconsciously we actually relate and identify with our avatars a lot more than we realize, be it an elf warrior, a Sith Lord, or a tattooed car thief. I’ve pretended to be all three, but I’ve only actually ever been one for realzies.
These constructed identities we use for our online interactions are responsible for a phenomenon called the “Proteus Effect”, which is how we gradually begin to act like our online selves in our real-world lives.
There have been various studies to support this concept. When people who use an avatar that is physically attractive and empowered, it boosts their confidence and assertiveness, and the same with people who use less attractive or evil characters who become cruel and self-conscious in real life.
On the up-side, researchers feel virtual reality has the potential to help treat anxiety and mental illness.
- Online Disinhibition Effect
This one is a catch 22. On one side, you have the aspect where individuals can disassociate the online user names and avatars with actual people, making it easier to dehumanize others, and making it easier to be rude and disrespectful without social consequences. Anonymity can be a weapon.
This is known as the “Online Disinhibition Effect” which means that the protection from consequence makes us feel comfortable. It gives us the freedom to be awful individuals, or to be more effective when working with others apparently, so anonymity can also be a virtue.
It’s been found that people participating anonymously in online workshops demonstrate:
- Enhanced problem-solving skills
- A willingness to ask more questions
This is because there is no fear of asking stupid questions, giving stupid answers, or failing to complete a task because no one knows who you are.
Additionally, while some perceive anonymity as an excuse to be cruel to others, it’s also a great way of developing strong online communities who commit to generous and worthy causes, instead of pursuit of popularity. Anonymity creates less inclination to be loyal to individuals at the expense of the group, so everyone hones in on the idea of the group and advancing the group’s goals.
- Social Overdependence (and yet… Distancing Phenomena)
Through communication such as emails, texts, tweets and social media modern technology has made it easier than ever before for people to stay connected with each other. This is a beautiful thing, but it also often results in an overdependence and even obsession with social interaction that is both crippling our independence and isolating us from healthy communication.
FOMO is the “Fear of Missing Out”, which is described as a form of social anxiety that those who tend to feel unloved or without respect experience when they’re unable to interact socially online. FOMO can be so debilitating that not letting someone on Facebook to stay constantly connected can cause depression, and even cause them to question their own existence in extreme cases.
Social media has caused us to rely on it to the point we can literally withdrawal… at least mentally.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Social media has also made it possible to go pretty much our entire lives without ever having to physically interact with another human being… like ever!
Psychologists have even said we’re creating a “Distancing Phenomena”, which means by never communicating face-to-face, and over-relying on technology to both pacify and educate our children, we are diluting our ability to have real-life conversation.
And yet we wonder why social anxiety is spiking among teens, while simultaneously we overlook that they miss out on learning skills in facial recognition, body language and eye contact that are all essential part of how we as humans express emotions and intentions.
So while I clatter on this keyboard trying to keep your attention long enough to finish this article, adding to the cycle, I can’t help but think how many of you only read the corner of the page. Or how many of you will click ‘like’ or ‘share’ but won’t actually have a conversation with another human being about it (you should totally share it though, either way).
Who clicked the article just because they think the picture looked like them, and who only clicked it to stay relevant on the Facebook feed?
At least let’s acknowledge how society is being formatted for pocket-screens. Now how can we work to changing our compulsions, obsessions and even addictions before they change us for good?
Take the time to see where you unhealthy habits mold you, and which one of those compulsive actions controls you. The internet isn’t the only thing that reprograms us. Drugs and alcohol do too. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.