Gaming addiction is the uncontrollable habit of using video games that ends up interfering with many areas of an individual’s life. Just like other forms of addiction, problematic video game use has warning signs.
The symptoms of gaming addiction include preoccupation with game-playing, increased irritability when unable to play a game, extreme tiredness due to lack of sleep, the need to spend more and more time gaming, and isolation from family and friends.
There are major contributing factors that lead to the development of the disorder. The causes of gaming addiction are addictive game design, a strong desire for escapism, the need for social approval, and underlying mental health problems.
The negative repercussions of compulsive gaming on one’s mind and body are well-studied. The effects of gaming addiction include sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, lack of social skills, damaged personal relationships, and financial ruin. These serious risks may result in grave repercussions if not promptly addressed.
Gaming addiction refers to an unhealthy obsession with gaming to the extent that it dominates an individual’s life at the expense of important responsibilities in life, personal relationships, and life interests.
A gaming addict may find themselves unable to stop gaming despite serious ramifications on their physical and mental health.
Several reasons could explain why someone develops an addiction to video games. The causes of gaming addiction are listed below.
Too much gaming can have serious negative consequences. The effects of gaming addiction are listed below.
Certain warning signs are indicative of problematic gaming. The most common signs and symptoms of gaming addiction are listed below.
Other possible gaming addiction symptoms include:
Gaming addiction can be overcome by setting strict time limits on any given gaming session and keeping busy with other stress-relieving activities. Setting specific time limits on daily play can keep an individual away from the possibility of developing a full-blown addiction to video games.
One can try limiting playing time to no longer than two hours each day with the help of a timer on a mobile phone or another device. Discovering other fun activities as a form of distraction is also helpful in curbing gaming addiction.
Individuals often use gaming to escape stressful situations in life. It is critical to develop healthier coping strategies when overwhelmed with stress by discovering other activities to keep you occupied. This is beneficial in establishing a healthier routine that will prevent a person from turning to compulsive gaming when faced with trigger situations.
As with any other addiction, however, overcoming gaming addiction can be a difficult process. Someone who is severely addicted to gaming may need to reach out to a doctor or therapist for professional help.
A complex set of factors influences someone’s risk of being addicted to video games. The risk factors for gaming addiction are listed below.
Gaming addiction is treated by using different treatment approaches such as counseling, psychotherapy, 12-step programs, and medications. Individual and family counseling are both helpful in treating a gaming addict.
One-on-one sessions with a counselor can help a patient set attainable goals towards overcoming their addiction while family therapy helps cultivate a supportive environment that is integral in one’s lifelong journey to recovery.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another helpful approach in treating gaming addiction. It is a common form of psychotherapy that looks to address the underlying drivers involved in the cycle of problematic video game use.
On the other hand, 12-step programs such as Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous and Online Gamers Anonymous offer a safe space for recovering addicts. These programs consist of peer groups who attend regular meetings driven by a course of action for video game addiction help.
Gaming addicts who are diagnosed with co-occurring psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder may benefit from taking antidepressants and anxiety medications. This allows for holistic recovery that provides balanced care to address the needs of the whole person.
Gaming is addictive because the hyperarousal experienced from video games triggers a release of high amounts of dopamine in the reward center of the brain. Gaming is the practice of playing video games using a game console, mobile phone, or computer.
It also serves different purposes for gamers. Gaming can be used for enjoyment, relaxation, socialization, overcoming boredom, and even has health care uses such as pain management as well as occupational therapy. When played in moderation, video games can be beneficial for some people.
The advantages of gaming include better problem-solving skills, increased hand-to-eye coordination, better attention to detail, and improved teamwork skills. However, if gaming develops into a full-blown addiction, the repercussions may outweigh the positive effects of the activity.
Excessive video game use has several disadvantages, including increased aggression, lack of concentration, shorter attention span, poor social skills, physical health risks, and the risk for addiction.
Another factor that makes video games addictive is game design. Video game developers design games with the gamer in mind and are always constantly looking for ways for their creations to be intrinsically interesting. For instance, several games offer different attractions, such as stimulating graphics, good game mechanics, and an interesting variety of choices.
Gaming addiction counseling is necessary when giving addicts the opportunity to gain new perspectives on their condition and for providing them with quality emotional support during the critical time of recovery.
Therapy can also be done in groups or with family members. Group therapy consists of peer groups with whom a gaming addict can discuss their concerns as well as receive advice and feedback. On the other hand, family counseling helps family members find new ways to work together towards making recovery easier for a loved one and addressing issues that have affected the functioning of the family.
The symptoms of gaming addiction withdrawal include restlessness, increased irritability, headaches, sleeplessness, aggressive behaviors, and emotional outbursts. Withdrawal symptoms can manifest in physical and psychological ways when one is trying to cut down on gaming or when playing time is taken away over longer periods.
Yes, gaming addiction can cause depression. Evidence shows that a strong correlation exists between gaming and depression as video game overuse is not only considered a cause but also a consequence of depression.
As a risk factor, gaming addiction can contribute to feelings of depression because it is a socially isolating activity where individuals are away from the physical world, derailing gamers’ ability to make real friends. Compulsive gaming can also exacerbate comorbid psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, and social phobia.
On the other hand, pre-existing depression among individuals may also result in gaming addiction, as those who struggle with depression often use avoidance coping skills. This may involve the use of gaming to avoid stressors or a deeper problem such as depression instead of dealing with it.
Gaming affects the youth by causing and exacerbating a plethora of physical and mental health problems. Chronic exposure to video games has been a long-standing concern among parents and experts. Existing studies that have revealed its negative effects are proof of the controversies surrounding the addictive activity.
Among the many negative effects that gaming has on the youth include weaker social skills, impaired school performance, sedentary lifestyle, lack of sleep, inability to manage emotional responses, increased aggression, manipulative behavior, pathological lying, and bullying.
Over time, the physical, behavioral, and attitudinal changes caused by gaming addiction to young people may contribute to low psychosocial well-being and poor quality of life.