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What is the difference between the phrases "lose touch with reality" and "out of touch with reality"? And can I use either of them to describe people who are addicted to video games?

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    The same as the difference between 'fall ill' and 'be ill'. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 6 '15 at 9:15
  • Even assuming there are people who are literally addicted to video games, why would you assume that their compulsion to play these games means they can no longer distinguish them from the real world? – deadrat Oct 6 '15 at 9:19
  • It is a hypothetical question. Perhaps I should have asked if it means " make them not aware of what happens around them in real life." – user121256 Oct 6 '15 at 9:24
  • I think you could describe being utterly immersed in a video game as being 'disconnected from reality', and therefore arguably 'out of touch' with it. I wouldn't like to suggest that habitual game players, in the normal course of their lives, found themselves in that state any more than habitual readers, for instance. – JHCL Oct 6 '15 at 13:37
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Lose touch with reality implies you were once in touch with reality.

Out of touch with reality is silent on whether or not you were ever in touch with reality.

can I use either of them to describe people who are addicted to video games?

Probably not.

Just because someone feels an overwhelming need to play computer games doesn’t mean they’ve lost touch with reality.

Also, addict is often used in a non-medical way (especially with respect to pop culture), so a video-game addict might just be someone who enjoys playing video games a lot, but doesn't meet the clinical definition of addiction.

However, if your assertion is that in some cases someone is so obsessed with computer games that they simply no longer have any regard for the real world, then you could probably use it. But that would be an extreme case.

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What is the difference between the phrases "lose touch with reality" and "out of touch with reality"?

The difference is in the verbs. 'to lose' versus 'to be out of'.

touch
the state or fact of being in contact or communication or of having awareness

Merriam Webster

We could say (or presume) that the usual state of most people is to be in touch with reality. That is to say that they have a rational understanding of the world around them.

"to lose touch with reality" means to lose that connection with reality.

"to be out of touch with reality" means that you do not have that connection with reality.

The first is a progression from one state to another. The second is one of those states.

The same difference as between, "to lose X" and "to be out of X" whatever X happens to be.

EDIT

I see that Graham Nicol has answered at roughly the same time. I partly disagree with Graham. I think either phrase could be used about people who are addicted to computer games. There are degrees of losing touch with reality. The most extreme would be to be unconscious or dead but, for the phrase to be useful, we must allow other levels.

  • It really comes down to whether or not having no regard for reality is necessary to qualify you as a video-game addict. I could imagine a scenario where someone compulsively played computer games, but worried about how this affected their relationships, work etc. In such a case they're still in touch with reality. – Graham Nicol Oct 6 '15 at 9:47
  • Ah, I see what you mean. We are reading the question, "can I use either of them to describe people who are addicted to video games" in slightly different ways. I didn't take it as referring to all gamers, just specific cases. – chasly from UK Oct 6 '15 at 10:20
  • Yeah, the way I see it you could use 'lose touch with reality' depending on how you were using 'addiction', which would depend on the circumstances. I was just wanting to make the point that 'lose touch with reality' implies something very serious and fundamental, rather than something more mild akin to daydreaming. – Graham Nicol Oct 6 '15 at 10:27

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