Confessions Of A Video Game Addict
A reminder that this article from our magazine Visions was published more than 1 year ago. It is here for reference only. Some information in it may no longer be current. It also represents the point of the view of the author only. See the author box at the bottom of the article for more about the contributor.
From “Problem Gambling and Video Gaming” issue of Visions Journal, 2018, 14 , p. 11
I was addicted to playing video games for over 10 years. Choosing to set gaming aside and move on to other things has taught me more about living a meaningful life than anything Ive done before.
Growing up, I was a fairly normal Canadian kid. I went to school, I played hockey, and then I would go home and play video games. I was happy, I felt smart, and I had friends. That all changed in Grade 8, when I began to experience intense bullying, both at school and on my hockey team. The less frequently I went to school and hockey practice, the more I played video games.
The new jobin retailgave me structure and stability. I had a schedule to follow, and accountability. Most of all, I had a second chance. Up until this point, my life had been a mess. I was withdrawn and unhappy, and I gamed to escape. Now I had the opportunity to turn things around. In order to do this, I knew I would have to quit gaming.
He returned with the game, and over the next 30 minutes he proceeded to absolutely destroy me.
About the author
I’ll No Longer Settle For Less That I Can Be
I’ll no longer settle for a life that I’m unhappy with. I’m no longer going to settle being alone in my life, not having friends, being insecure, or not having confidence. What really pushed me over the edge is when I wondered what my life was going to look like in five years from now or ten years from now, if I continued down this path. What would it be like? I thought to myself, I’m going to be even more alone, even more isolated, even more unhappy with myself. That pain of facing the truth will set you free.
If you can get to the truth, you can change anything in your life. Most people don’t want to face the truth because it hurts. It doesn’t feel good. It feels uncomfortable, because you have to admit to yourself that you are not enough. You have to admit to yourself that you are not happy. If you can get to the truth, you can confront that pain. That pain can drive you to make that decision to change.
When I made that decision, I got rid of my PlayStation. I sold it. I got rid of all my games. I got rid of my TV. I remember that I didn’t get rid of the TV right away, but I just disconnected it. I was like, You know what? I’m going to disconnect my TV. I sold my accounts. I got rid of everything. I made like a hundred bucks for all of the years that I spent building up these accounts. I didn’t really get much of a return for it.
Addiction Or Underlying Mental Health Problem
In the debate around video game addiction, you often hear the objection that gaming is better understood as a coping mechanism for underlying mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder , and not a disorder in its own right. Is this true?
No. It is widely established in the addiction field that comorbidity the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient is common, and gaming disorder is no exception 4
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Establishing A Healthier Routine
Will A Video Game Addiction Hurt My Relationships And Self
With any addiction, the substance or the behavior begins to be the center of your world. In that way, maintaining a healthy relationship becomes very challenging. Video games may limit your social skills, make you more hostile, and make it harder to form new relationships.
Video game addictions and poor self-esteem share a strong connection. Evidence shows that people with low self-esteem may be more drawn to video games, and video games could also harm self-esteem. Video game addictions will not leave you feeling better about yourself, no matter how many times you level up.
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Video Game Addiction Definition
What does video game addiction really mean? The World Health Organization has defined gaming as a Game Disorder or Gaming Disorder under its International Classification of Diseases . The difference between a hobby to past time as well as the negative repercussions of gaming. It is spending too much time playing video games even though a gamer is already experiencing negative effects.
Video Gaming Addiction: Why Are Teens Addicted
The huge demand for video games has resulted in a multibillion-dollar market. The market size is expected to reach $90 billion U.S. Dollars by 2020. Its reached 137.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.
In 2016, there were more than 2.5 billion gamers in the world, according to the European Mobile Game Market.
In addition to these statistics, video gaming has become a profitable business model. I know gamers who make millions from the comfort of their homes. And these are teenagers.
Game manufacturers and developers are smart. When you see your teen addicted to video games, its not entirely their fault. Why?
Its because game developers are deliberate about the games they launch. They make sure that these games are designed to be exciting, interactive, all-inclusive, and addictive.
They achieve these by creating challenging games that hold the players attention from start to finish. Funny enough, most video games have no end even those that have end takes years to master.
Although video games can be challenging, theyre equally enticing. So its almost impossible for gamers to give up.
Developers make gamers believe that success is just around the corner so they keep playing resulting in video game addiction or online gaming addiction.
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Video Game Addiction Treatment For Adults And Teens
Treating compulsive video gaming is similar to treating other types of addictive behaviors, and relies mostly on psychotherapy in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. Psychodynamic therapy can help the individual identify the driving factors behind their desire to spend so much time in social isolation. The individual may suffer from social anxiety and gaming provides a sort of detached, fantasy-based social scene that feels safe.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help the compulsive gamer learn to control the impulse control issues related to the disorder. The irrational or dysfunctional though patterns that lead to the compulsive gaming can be reshaped and modified, leading to healthier thinking patterns and behavioral responses.
There is also a 12-step group called Online Gamers Anonymous that can provide a peer support environment.
S To Prevent Gaming Problem
There is currently no concrete evidence that shows which video games are more likely to lead to an addiction. Hence, any steps taken to prevent a gaming problem covers all types of games, generally.
- Set a time limit for gaming and stick to it. If possible, get someone to hold you accountable for these restrictions.
- Keep your gaming devices away from your bedroom. Having them nearby may trigger a relapse while youre trying to recover.
Find other activities to get involved in. Physical activities such as exercise will help improve your health and take your mind off gaming too.
As more video games are being created and more immersive gameplay comes to the fore due to technological advancement, video gaming addiction continues to be a genuine worry especially for younger people. However, just like with many other addictions, regaining control of ones mind requires deliberate effort. There is no easy way to get over the addiction, but the physical, social and mental rewards of the effort are completely worth it.
Hope Without Commitment
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Video Game Addiction In Children And Adolescents
Almost all American children and teenagers play video games. Among teenagers, 97% of boys and 83% of girls play at least one video game on at least one device. There is evidence that children who start to play video games at younger ages are more likely to develop video game addictions than children who start to play them when theyre older. Nevertheless, addiction to video games is a risk for children of all ages. Video game addiction is likely to negatively impact a childs success in school. A child who plays video games obsessively will probably fail to study, finish homework, or participate in sports or school clubs. They may also be tired at school and fall asleep in class.
Studies have shown that playing video games excessively can negatively affect a childs emotional development as well as their academic success. Children who have a video game addiction may be more inclined to exhibit aggressive and anti-social behavior, and they might fail to develop mature social skills. Childrens minds are especially vulnerable to forming habits and routines. Parents should make sure that their children have a balanced relationship with any video game that they play.
These Are The Questions You Must Ask To Consider You Are Having A Video Game Addiction:
- Am I not doing well in school because I spend most of my time playing video games?
- Am I not moving forward in my life because my time is taken up by gaming?
- Is my gaming getting in the way of my sleep?
- Am I still considered a romantic partner because I do not spend enough time with my spouse?
- Am I still having a harmonious relationship with my parents and friends because I spend an excessive amount of time playing video games than with them?
- Am I still able to connect with my friends and have a social life?
- Am I doing good in life and still motivated?
- Am I professionally growing?
- Is my mental health considered healthy?
- Do I need medical assistance because of suffering eye strains, migraines, and other physical disorders due to too much playing of video games?
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What Is Video Game Addiction
A video game addiction is simply an addiction to playing video games. Unfortunately, this addiction is spreading at an extremely fast pace. While it may not effect the body directly as alcohol or cigarettes would, it can still devastate lives when people take their gaming habits too far.
Truth be told, I was once addicted to video games. I let it ruin many aspects of my life. I still play them, but I learned how to enjoy in moderation.
References: Video Game Addiction
Gentile D. 2009. Pathological video-game use among youth ages 8 to 18: a national study. Psychol Sci. 20:594-602.
Gentile DA, Choo H, Liau A, Sim T, Li D, Fung D, and Khoo A. 2011. Pathological video game use among youths: a two-year longitudinal study. Pediatrics. 127:e319-29.
Kelly JF, Myers MG, and Brown SA. 2000. A multivariate process model of adolescent 12-step attendance and substance use outcome following inpatient treatment. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 14:376-389.
Lee MS, Ko YH, Song HS, Kwon KH, Lee HS, Nam M, and Jung IK. 2007. Characteristics of Internet use in relation to game genre in Korean adolescents. Cyberpsychol Behav. :278-85.
Pentz MA, Spruijt-Metz D, Chou CP, and Riggs NR. 2011. High calorie, low nutrient food/beverage intake and video gaming in children as potential signals for addictive behavior. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 8:4406-24.
Rau PL, Peng SY, and Yang CC. 2006. Time distortion for expert and novice online game players. Cyberpsychol Behav. 9:396-403.
Skoric MM, Teo LL, and Neo RL. 2009. Children and video games: addiction, engagement, and scholastic achievement. Cyberpsychol Behav. 12:567-72.
Sun DL, Ma N, Bao M, Chen XC, and Zhang DR. 2008.Computer games: a double-edged sword? Cyberpsychol Behav. 11:545-8.
Tejeiro Salguero RA and Bersabe Morán RM. 2002. Measuring problem video game playing in adolescents. Addiction 97: 1601-1606.
Content of Video game addiction last modified 3/13
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Executive Video Game Addiction Programs
Those who have hesitated to seek treatment for their gaming addictions owing to responsibilities at work might be good candidates for executive video game addiction programs. These inpatient centers offer limited access to computers and mobile phones to permit business executives to stay in touch with the office while undergoing treatment.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the authorâs knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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Healthy Gamer Family Support Program
The Healthy Gamer Family Support Program is a 12-week virtual coaching solution created by Dr. Alok Kanojia, known as Dr. K, the world expert on video game psychology. It covers the most frustrating, difficult, and common dynamics around excessive gaming including:
- Managing your childâs expectations
- Setting and enforcing fair, effective boundaries
- Dealing with resistance from your child
- Approaching your child based on their stage in adolescence
- Adapting your approach for autism, ADHD, mood disorders, or substance use
For 12 consecutive weeks, participants get access to a workshop and Q& A with Dr. K and weekly support groups led by Healthy Gamer Coaches. The dual support structure helps parents get started and follow-through in helping their children combat excessive gaming.
Teens And Gaming Addiction: A Practical Guide To Dealing With It
In moderation, gaming can be beneficial. It can help improve and expand the teens IQ. However, too many teenagers are now compulsively playing video games as if their lives depend on it.
This has led to gaming addiction, which is a major concern for parents and society at large.
The World Health Organization noted that gaming disorder is a mental health condition. Gaming addiction or disorder occurs when teens compulsorily play video games for long hours until it begins to impair in family, social, personal, educational, and other vital areas of life.
We need to establish the fact that playing video games can offer some amazing benefits.
Gaming addiction occurs when teens prioritize gaming over every other thing including their personal and educational lives leading to unhealthy gaming behavior and dependency.
Such teens may not see the negative consequences of their addiction. Some will suffer withdrawal effects when they attempt to stop gaming.
In most cases, teens will skip school or classes, neglect sports or outdoor activities, avoid social engagements, and not do their house chores.
According to The American Psychiatric Association , gaming addiction cant be classified as a mental health problem due to insufficient facts but there are ongoing studies by medical professionals and scientists to determine the connection between the two.
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Is Video Game Addiction A Disorder
Is gaming dangerous? A study found 10% of video game players exhibited pathological behavior.
In Ohio, a 17-year-old boy shot both of his parents, killing his mother, because they took away his Halo 3 video game. His defense was that he was pushed to the brink by his addiction to video games, often playing for 18 hours straight.1
This tragic story joins others from around the world. In South Korea, a couple was arrested for being so obsessed with video games that their infant daughter died of malnutrition.2 As Korean internet gaming cafes grew in popularity, so did stories of players who wore diapers just so they could avoid taking bathroom breaks.2 Using the results of a survey of more than 2000 South Korean middle school students, close to 6% were classified as having a gaming disorder, and another 8% were considered to be at high risk for the disorder.3
In response to statistics like these, the World Health Organization in 2018 officially included internet gaming disorder in International Classification of Diseases, 11th Edition, noting that the disorder resulted in marked distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, or occupational functioning. WHO further noted other associated health concerns, including insufficient physical activity, poor diet, problems with eyesight and hearing, musculoskeletal problems, sleep deprivation, aggressive behavior, and depression, as well as poor psychosocial functioning.4
Adverse Effects Of Video Game Addiction
Designers of video games are shrewd, understanding that financial reward for their innovations are dependent on increasing engagement in the games by ever increasing numbers of players. The games are designed to be just challenging enough that players will remain engaged, attempting to gain high scores and ultimately win. The games are designed to provide the ABCs of basic human needs: Autonomy, Belonging, and Competence, keeping a constant stream of hope for the anticipated reward that is just around the next corner or on the next level.
The lure of winning and conquering, of becoming competent at a game can result in compulsive gaming. When a player becomes addicted to video games, their entire world revolves around playing time. They will trade off time with friends and family, miss important work events, and become socially isolated in their fantasy world. Their social scene becomes enmeshed with the people also playing the online game.
Compulsive gaming can exact a high price, including deteriorating health, depression, and sleep deprivation. Ultimately, depression and substance abuse may become co-occurring disorders with the gaming addiction, resulting from a decline in general well-being due to the consequences of the disorder.
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