I asked this question in Chess Stack Exchange and they sugested me to ask it here:

In this interview to FIDE Master and psychologist Maria Rodrigo the interviewer asked her about chess and addictions:

XL. There are those who are not able to prioritize and get hooked.

M.R. Yes, because the dopamine rush during a game can be brutal. And that is something you have to learn to control. If you don't, you start a game, and then another, and another… And there is no one to stop. You lose hours of sleep… The problem of addiction is more typical in men than in women. Men are more hooked on video games and women on social networks.

I read articles like this one on Chessbase where it is said they started a cognitive training through chess at a therapeutic community "recovering the cognitive functions (attention, memory, etc.) deteriorated by drug use, with the help of chess". But maybe this is focused on teaching how to play chess to people that didn't play lots of online chess while consuming drugs. And dopamine plays a role in addictions.

It is clear chess is good to treat other mental diseases like schizophrenia, and it looks good to teach recovering addicts how to play chess to recover the cognitive functions damaged by drug abuse (according to Chessbase article), but is chess good for a recovering addict that played chess before his treatment started? Can it bring the patient closer to a relapse in drug use?

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    $\begingroup$ It's a logical error to expect averages to apply to everyone equally; it may be that chess is good on average and also that chess is bad for some individuals. That's one reason that individualized care in medicine and psychiatry is important: doctors and psychologists may use population-based data to guide their first steps, but after that they monitor response and vary the approach accordingly. It's fine to ask the population questions here, but personal advice is off-topic, and if you're wanting to figure out what to do personally you should consult with professionals who know you. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 26, 2022 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ I'd recommend filtering out the aspects of this question that pertain to you specifically if you'd like it to remain open for answering here, and also to realize that answers based on a population may not be the right answers for you, and that "playing a game" is distinct from "playing a game obsessively/to detriment" much like using alcohol, cannabis, or any drug is distinct from abusing those substances. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 26, 2022 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ I took the liberty to edit the question to make it fit this site better. I think the question still stands also without the personal content. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Jan 26, 2022 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ I'm unsure what this question is asking. Therapists generally encourage healthy behaviours over unhealthy ones. If a recovering drug addict enjoys physical exercise, then physical exercise would likely be encouraged, even though physical exercise can be addictive too. If a recovering drug addict has a co-addiction to gambling, then of course gambling should not be encouraged as a substitute for drugs. This is just common sense. It seems to me that the original (self-help) question was just based on a disagreement about whether the patient's prior chess playing should be considered ... $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jan 31, 2022 at 4:34
  • $\begingroup$ ... obsessive or not. Once that disagreement is sorted out, the way forward is obvious, is it not...? $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jan 31, 2022 at 4:34


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