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Video games pose addiction risk, experts say

Mental health experts are expressing concern about the growing number of young Americans playing online video games.
Mental health experts are expressing concern about the growing number of young Americans playing online video games.

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Mental health experts are expressing concern about the growing number of young Americans playing online video games.

Psychotherapist Evan Jarschauer said while repetitive interaction with the games alone can have addictive qualities, some are even subtly encouraging the use of addictive substances.

“In many of those very popular games, probably some of the children, or the adolescents, or the adults out there that are playing have direct references to cocaine, OxyContin, even fentanyl and we know how dangerous fentanyl is,” he said.

Jarschauer said ratings on games usually contain cautions about language or violence, but he said some online games contain covert drug-related messages that go unnoticed.

Experts encourage parents to be on the lookout for changes in behavior that could indicate an unhealthy connection to online video games.

Also in today’s health news, an analysis of more than 20,000 medical records suggests that a heart valve disease during pregnancy may pose a greater risk than previously thought.

The study published online in the American Journal of Cardiology found that women with a history of leaky heart valves and narrowed valves are up to 100 times more likely to experience cardiac complications, including heart failure, at the time of delivery.

Heart valve disease can lead to premature labor and heart failure in up to 10% of women giving birth each year.


About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.