Treating Your 'Candy Crush' Addiction

By Holly Falconer

Stone Island jacket, Beyond Retro dress, Kickers boots

This shoot is not affiliated with Candy Crush Saga.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Holly Falconer
STYLING: Kylie Griffiths
WORDS: Chris Giles
Graphics and illustration: Toby and Joe Evans
Photographer's assistant: Alex Craddock
Photographic lab: Labyrinth Photographic
Makeup and hair: Lydia Warhurst using Eyeko London, Bobbi Brown, Mac, Nars, Liz Earl, and Bumble & Bumble
Models: Gemma, Lola, and Patrish at Profile 

Yesterday, my Facebook feed was full of people keyboard crying over a Daily Mail article. The gist was that Candy Crush could be banned when new app developer rules are introduced. It won't be, of course—but it did get me thinking about how addicted some of my friends are to swiping virtual treats. I wanted to find out if there was anything I could do to help, so I called up James McInally, head of marketing at Addiction Helper, for some advice.

VICE: So, is Candy Crush addiction a problem you’ve ever encountered?
James McInally: Yes, people have contacted us with an addiction to Candy Crush—they can’t actually function in life anymore because they play so often. They might not go to work because they can’t stop playing, for example. It’s obsession and compulsion. They get a dopamine release when they get to the next level. It also might be something that helps them take their minds off of other problems.

Do you see any similarities between those addicted to Candy Crush and those addicted to, say, heroin or crack cocaine?
There are similarities. There are two different categories of addiction: substance addiction and behavioral addiction. People are playing Candy Crush to get a high—it’s a behavioral problem, and often those behavioral problems are difficult to break. Whether it’s an addiction to Candy Crush, drugs, or alcohol, it’s the same behavior.

Say my friend had a debilitating Candy Crush addiction—how would I go about treating it?
Tell them it’s OK not to be OK. How involved is the addiction? How we treat addiction varies between individuals. Not all addicts are the same. Find out the reason. Most people have an underlying problem. Some people need counselling to talk about and engage with the habit. Candy Crush is just a symptom—a manifestation of an underlying deeper issue. Addiction is a growing industry; there’s more out there to be addicted to nowadays.

Thanks, James.

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