Do you think those iPhone games-- Candy Crush, etc. help or hurt addicts?


The internet says they at least DOUBLE dopamine levels. Is this helpful (helps scratch the itch harmlessly) or does it keeps that part of the brain expecting the dopamine rush?


I know my husband has found refuge in ‘shootem-up’ video games. Like @momentsandlight said with her husband’s medical marijuana use and suboxone to stave of heroin use / addiction. I think they can be a tool in recovery.

My hope is that over time yoga, meditation and friendships overcome these coping mechanisms. But I’m still learning here what works and what his recovery timeline is like!

Also, when the drug is removed they are more susceptible to heightened depression rates so maybe it’s good to have these substitutes?


Laughing at ‘shootem-up’ video games @polly! My husband likes these, too. He doesn’t struggle with substance use but definitely uses them as kind of an ‘unwind’ activity (very foreign to me - they kinda make me stressed :grimacing:) which I think can be healthy, at they end of the day or on a Saturday morning.


If the iPhone game is helping with recovery - for example, keeping them away from their drug of choice, helping create new hobbies or friends, giving them something new to learn - then I’d say they’re helpful. If the games are just allowing them to isolate themselves from true human connection, then maybe not.


Great question, @CharlieHorse! After doing some looking online, it seems like we don’t quite know the answer to this question from a research perspective! Most research done on games has only explored addiction to these games, but hasn’t seemed to explore these games as a mediating factor in those who already struggle with substance use.

I think you’re right in saying that because they produce so much dopamine, they could either create a higher threshold for dopamine levels (where substance use might increase to meet this threshold) or help mediate substance use because of the influx of dopamine from another non-substance source. It seems like we don’t quite have the answer to this question yet, but this is a super interesting research question that I hope someone explores soon!