Video Game Addiction Vs Avid Gamer
To a large degree, its often difficult to distinguish between a teen whos an avid gamer from someone whos addicted to it. If thats the case, you should look out for some signs such as irritability, especially when a teen is not able to win a favorite game.
Other symptoms may include spending up to 12 hours on a particular game and not even realizing it, signs of isolation, stress, and so on.
Gaming addiction also impedes academic performance and relationships, including severe migraines and tiredness.
The reason for gaming addiction is because the brain is wired to get a reward for a job well done. So the brains reward system is triggered so that a teen compulsively strives to get the reward of winning or reaching a milestone.
In a study conducted by California State University, it was clear that video games can produce similar effects on teens brains as substance abuse or alcoholism.
The amygdala-striatal system, which is the smaller part of the human brain wasnt so pronounced but more sensitive in gamers who spend hours playing games.
The Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games gets the players engrossed and immersed in real-time causing an unending loop due to the seemingly endless possibility of uncovering new terrains and levels in a game.
To complete each gaming level to get the reward, a gamer may spend extra hours trying to scale through.
What Is Gaming Disorder
Research into the effects of video gaming have been ongoing for several decades. While there are both positive and negative aspects of video game play, it is clear that for some adults and teens, gaming is a significant problem. Thus, the World Health Organization made the decision to include gaming disorder in the International Classification of Diseases in 2018.
Studies indicate that video game play changes the brain. VGP has been associated with delayed development in brain areas associated with development and verbal intelligence. Other studies suggest that video game play may cue the brain in similar ways as what happens when a person coping with pathological gambling or substance dependence.
The Crossover Effect: From Entertaining Gaming To An Addiction
How can playing a video game be harmful? After all, its just a game and not a physical activity to the extent that youre putting yourself in potential physical danger from opponents. Going beyond the question of whether video gaming can be harmful, how can the activity be considered addictive? Research is divided on both questions, although studies continue to explore the behavior.
For many parents, educators, video game advocates, and fans, the fact that their child, friend or peer plays such video games is a positive development, since the activity helps sharpen focus and cognitive ability and promotes working in a collaborative manner with others. What they may not recognize for some time, however, is when their son or daughter, classmate, co-worker, neighbor or friend spends time gaming instead of taking care of homework, sports, participating in social get-togethers, family events, or getting much-needed physical exercise. At that point, the positives associated with video game playing start to wane, replaced or outweighed by a number of negatives.
In a key rebuttal to a direct comparison of video gaming to gambling addiction, an article in Psychology Today says that the premise is flawed for the simple fact that video games do not involve losses of a material nature or financial wagers or stakes. The major contention here is that playing a video game is more dependent on utilizing sharp reflexes and innate cognitive ability, while gambling is more luck-related.
Also Check: How To Deal With An Addicted Spouse
How To Help Your Teen With Gaming Addiction
All hope isnt lost for a teen whos struggling with gaming addiction. As a parent, the first thing you have to accept is that video games arent so bad as most rival companies paint them theyre not the root cause of addiction.
The major problem with video games is how teens are using them to replace important things in their lives. Essentially, compulsive gaming can replace a persons mind with something else which oftentimes, isnt fulfilling or rewarding in the long run.
When it comes to addiction, were talking about going beyond video games as a form of entertainment. For teens, gaming can act as a coping mechanism which isnt a good thing.
Video gaming can yield addictive behaviors in teens by replacing the worthy coping mechanisms with intolerable behaviors that affect their personal and social lives.
Both adults and teens can become addicted to anything, including eating, exercise, or even beer. Its not the element in question that causes the addiction but the use case.
While helping a teen deal with gaming addiction and even eliminate it, its important to address the signs that come as a result.
Parents have the responsibility of cutting back their teens gaming time by half or even more. If they used to play for 12 hours , reducing it to 4 to 6 hours is a good start.
Dont try to completely stop them from playing video games such mode of withdrawal can aggravate the urge to play even more.
Symptoms Of Video Game Addiction
If you suspect that someone you care about suffers from an addictive gaming disorder, there are some important signs to watch out for. If youre trying to tell if someone has a serious video game problem, consider these questions:
- Are they becoming isolated from family and friends?
- Are they lying to others about how often they play video games, and do they often play in secret?
- Do they become upset and irritable when theyre not playing video games?
- Are they neglecting work or school to play video games?
- Are they avoiding activities they once enjoyed?
- Are they skipping meals to focus on gaming?
- Are they often tired because theyre not getting enough sleep?
- Do they have physical problems from gaming too much, like carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and eye strain?
Five Types Of Treatment For Computer Game Addiction
Compared to the early days of video games in the 1970s, today computer games are a billion dollar business and profits are often far greater than the top grossing films.Computer games are played as a way of reducing stress, relaxing, and spending time with friends and family. When used for these purposes they are a fairly harmless form of entertainment. The research consistently shows that most individuals are able to keep their computer gaming under control and usually avoid having the game affect their lives in negative ways.Unfortunately, there are those for whom computer games evolve from a harmless activity into a serious addiction. While the research on exactly what percent of active gamers develop an addiction is sometimes inconsistent, estimates from 5 to 10% seem to be the norm. Because there are millions of computer gamers, even if we assume that only 5% become addicted this still suggests that there are tens of thousands of people who could be experiencing computer game addiction.
What treatment methods are available for people who spend an excessive amount of time playing computer games?
Related & recommended pages on this topic:
Understanding Video Game Addiction
Over 2 billion people play video games worldwide, and the market for video games was estimated to be a $90 billion industry in America in 2020. The average gamer plays for about 6 hours every week. For most players of all ages, playing video games is a fun pastime: a way to relax, connect with friends, and enjoy a challenge. Unfortunately, for some players, a video game hobby can escalate into an addictive disorder which takes over their lives.
In recent years, the smartphone has surpassed the computer and the console as the most common gaming device. Video games are now available on apps and social media. Furthermore, massively multiplayer online role-playing games continue to be immensely popular. Every day, games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Final Fantasy, and The Elder Scrolls Online draw millions of players into their virtual worlds. About 160 million Americans play MMORPGs and other internet-based games every day.
Like all good things, videos games are best in moderation. Adults and children alike can develop unhealthy, obsessive relationships with video games that they love.
Don’t Miss: How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Opioids
How Is Gaming Addiction Treated
Treatment for video game addiction is similar to treatment for other disorders like substance use disorder. Counselling and behaviour modification are the primary means of treating addicted gamers. Together, individual and family counselling are powerful treatment tools.
Unlike drugs or alcohol, video games are tied to devices, which are a key part of life for most people. In many cases its not possible to just stop using devices and that makes video game addiction similar to disordered eating we still need to eat, and well likely still need to use devices at some point in our lives. For many, the goal is controlled use rather than abstaining from using devices altogether.
There is no cure for these behavioural addictions, however, individuals do progress into remission and stop experiencing the negative effects of these behavioural addictions with significant work on themselves, and promoted self-awareness to manage triggers and avoid pitfalls in life. At that point, their work shifts more from acute treatment towards ongoing behavioural change maintenance.
Last Door is proud to offer services to help treat individuals struggling with the negative effects of media overuse including video game addiction.
Last Door Recovery Society helps teens and adults overcome their gaming addictions, learn new healthy behaviours, people from across North America come to Last Door to recovery from Video Game Addiction.
Does The Video Game Industry View Gaming As A Disorder
Both the gaming industry and gamers themselves have objected to the creation of a gaming disorder, pointing to the lack of definitive evidence, risk of misdiagnosis, and the benefits that some derive from gaming. The industry is correct in pointing out the debates around behavioral addictions, although they may also be driven by self-interest.
Read Also: How To Help Someone With Weed Addiction
How Common Is Video Game Addiction
One large-scale study concluded that 1.4 percent of video gamers may have an addiction. Other studies, conducted in various parts of the world and with various age groups and assessment criteria, have revealed prevalences of addiction among gamers ranging from 0.6 percent to 6 percent. Across all of these studies, what is clear is that the vast majority of video gamers do not have an addiction.
What To Do To Better Cope With Video Game Addiction
If you feel like you cant part from your favorite video game or have run up huge gaming WoW bills unexpectedly, dont worry, there are some steps you can take to bring your relationship with video games back down to earth.
1. Track your video game use. Yes, its a pain to do, but the more you keep track of the time you spend playing video games, the better youll be able to control it. Jot down in a notepad when you start and stop game play. Keep the journal for a weeks time, then review the amounts of time youre spending on each game, or if its just one game, the activities that keep you in-game for so long.
2. Start the weaning. Now that you know youre spending 20 hours a week on game play, its time to start cutting back. Take it slow and start with the least important game or activity in a game. Commit to reducing the time spent on that game or activity just 10% the first week. So if youre spending 10 hours a week on planning for battles, aim for 9 hours the next week. That means being more conscious each time youre in-game doing that activity, and trying to cut things short sooner rather than later.
Last medically reviewed on May 17, 2016
Don’t Miss: What Is Considered An Addiction
The Brains Reward System
Your motivation to either commit or quit harmful acts is tied to the biological makeup of your brain and your brains reward system. This system is an intricate network of neurotransmitters that are critical to human survival. Your self-control circuit is comprised of: 1. the brain systems that drive you to seek out things that bring you pleasure and, 2. the prefrontal cortex , which applies the brakes when youre about to engage in risky behavior.
In the addicted brain, the underactive PFC can create an imbalance in the reward system and cause you to lose control over your behavior. When this happens, youre more likely to fall victim to your cravings. Having low activity in the PFC often results in impulse control problems and poor internal supervision.
Why Your Child Is Addicted To Video Games
Game creators work hard to hook players to their games. They use predictive algorithms and principles of behavioral economics to make the gamer binge.
Games become addictive because it triggers the brains reward system, and shapes a childs behavior. Studies made by the California State University found that video games can have a similar effect on childrens brains as drug abuse or alcoholism. The impulsive part of the brain, known as the amygdala-striatal system was smaller and more sensitive in excessive users so that it processed the stimuli of games faster.
Massive multiplayer online role-playing games or MMORPGs immerse the player in real time because of the seemingly endless possibility of discovering more powerful loot or items. He is also enticed to complete events and achievements that requires a lot of gaming time.
Gamers who play games with social aspects, such as the World of Warcraft, spend the most time playing, sometimes for more than 40 hours a week even more than a full-time job. The social element makes gaming even more compulsive, and hard to quit. Social gaming satisfies the human need for being in charge, feeling competent, and feeling connected with others. Some online gamers even feel that they are duty bound to go online because others rely on them or their clan needs them for a scrim.
In many other games, the gamer works hard towards achieving a goal and quitting the game prematurely would waste everything the gamer has worked for.
Are Video Games Screens Another Addiction
In an increasingly digitalized world, where most people even children own electronic devices with screens, many parents worry about the effects of screen use on themselves and their children.
To complicate matters, some screen time can be educational for children and support their social development. With the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, many children and teens spent even more time playing video games to socialize with friends, since they couldnât get together in person.
With screens virtually everywhere, controlling a childâs screen time can be challenging. How can you manage your childrenâs screen time? How will you know if you or your children are addicted to screens or video games?
Is screen time damaging?
Itâs difficult to avoid screens completely. However, excessive screen time can affect peopleâs mental, social and physical health.
Too much screen time has been linked to:
- Difficulties with work or school
Many people have cried, laughed or been startled while watching a movie. This is because their brains process and react to the sensory input as if it were happening to them. This same type of engagement is possible when a person plays a video game.
How can gaming become an addiction?
Symptoms of screen time or video game addiction
Similar to tobacco, alcohol or drugs, screen time or video games can become an addiction if it damages your health and relationships, and you are unable to control it.
Some symptoms could include:
Diagnosis Of Video Games Addiction
The diagnosis of video games addiction is usually made by a specialist in psychiatry, since other possible disorders or suffering faced by the individual must be taken into account, and this professional will carry out a thorough evaluation before defining the diagnosis and best conduct. During the consultation, the patient will talk to the specialist, telling him about his relationship with games, how he feels when he stops playing, among other points. Family members are also interviewed to understand what damage the games are bringing to the individuals relationships.
Neuropsychological and psychological assessment and verification of social impairment due to abuse or addiction to games are also part of the diagnosis. There are no clinical tests that can diagnose this addiction, just talking to the doctor.
Read Also: What Makes People Addicted To Drugs
Harmful Effects Of Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction offers a number of harmful effects for your physical, psychological, and emotional health, and can cause lasting damage to your social life, friendships, and relationships with partners, spouses, and other family members. Video game addiction has been linked to depression, ADHD, and OCD. Gaming addiction also has its own set of withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, anger, and violent behavior when gaming is stopped abruptly.
Some of the harmful effects of video game addiction include:
- Increased risk for ADD or ADHD
- Learning disabilities that result from slowed responses after playing intense games
- Musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities from sitting for long periods of time or from only using the upper body
- Lowered metabolism from lack of physical activity or poor nutrition
- Weight gain due to lack of exercise and sitting for long periods of time
- Weight loss due to skipping meals while playing video games
- Poor social skills and interactions
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and OCD
Video games can be a complex, detailed, and compelling interactive activity. When played responsibly and in moderation, there is little chance that video games will lead to adverse health reactions or addiction. But when gaming gets out of control, and there are no limitations, professional addiction treatment may be needed to help you or your loved one get back on track with healthy living.