Signs & Symptoms Of Gaming Addiction
Many addictions drive the addict to secretive and solitary behaviour, and potentially into isolation, and gaming addiction is especially damaging in this regard due to the typically solitary nature of most gaming. As a result, many of the symptoms of gaming addiction may be invisible or remain concealed for quite some time, as the addict withdraws from social circles and even important relationships. Nevertheless, there are a number of signs which can indicate the development of an addiction to external observers.
What Causes Video Game Addiction
Studies show that most people who are struggling with the symptoms of video game addiction are playing multiplayer games on the internet. MMPORGs are especially addictive because they offer an endless adventure inside a fantasy world where players can essentially live a different life as a new person. They provide an opportunity to escape reality and leave behind problems of the real world.
Furthermore, MMPORGs and other multiplayer games host large communities of players where many people feel welcome, appreciated, and useful . An MMPORG player can join clans, help others players, make friends, and develop a status. Although the setting is virtual, the relationships are real. For the player, the sense of being part of something and having a role to play can be important and meaningful. This is especially true if the player does not experience social gratification in real life. For many people with a video game addiction, playing the game is not just a hobby. It is their social life and a pillar of their self-esteem. Video games which exist on social media closely coincide with social media addiction, another behavioral disorder which thrives on the feeling of being accepted.
Top 10 Rehab Questions
What Causes An Addiction To Video Games
Many different causes factor into video game addiction. One of the main reasons that video games can become so addictive, however, is they are designed to be that way. Video game designers, like anyone else trying to make a profit, are always looking for ways to get more people playing their games. They accomplish this by making a game just challenging enough to keep you coming back for more but not so hard that the player eventually gives up. In other words, success for a gamer often feels just out of reach. In this respect, video game addiction is very similar to another more widely recognized disorder: gambling addiction.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Addiction Severity Index
Make The Bedroom A Technology
Do you take your smartphone to bed, continually checking messages and apps all the way until its time to go to sleep? If you do, you might be damaging your sleep quality. Smartphones and similar devices emit blue light. This type of light stimulates the production of a hormone known as cortisol.5
When this happens, thats a sign to your brain that it needs to remain alert. Youll not only have less sleep as a result, youll be restless most of the night. This could lead to you not being as sharp as usual the next day.6
You Develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is something that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in your hand, fingers, and wrist. This condition is usually developed by those who spend a lot of time on the computer, and it can point to addiction if this is developed at a young age.
It is all fun and games until your body starts responding to the stress of your addiction as it tells you it is time to stop. Some take the hint, while others keep playing and end up in worse situations.
Also Check: Why Should Drug Addicts Be Helped
Constantly Thinking About Gaming
This will not be as obvious to a friend or family member as it would to the gamer themselves. They will find that their every thought leads them to think about gaming, and it even invades their dreams.
It is the only thing they will be able to think about day after day no matter what major events happen in their life. This is one sign that might have a gamer reevaluating their sense of self as they learn to put down the game and get themselves back on track.
Tell Everyone Who Will Listen
I never fully commit to a decision until I tell people about it. Thees something about verbalizing your thoughts. It makes them real.
I told my wife and my friends. Then I wrote a blog post about it.
That post has since been viewed over 400 times. I published it a month ago and I still get people commenting on it.
Now Im accountable. I dont care about what people on the internet think, but I care about sticking with my goal. If I took all that time to tell everyone and write about it then I better freaking do it.
Tell 3 people youre quitting and write it down.
You dont have to write a blog post or a long diatribe about why youre doing this. Just write it down on paper. Pin it to your wall or bathroom mirror.
Im quitting video games for an entire year
Every time you see those words is a constant reminder. Youll think about why you started this journey in the first place.
Read Also: How To Deal With Alcohol Addiction
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
Are Video Games And Screens Another Addiction
In our increasingly digitalized world, where most of us, and even our children, own electronic devices with screens, many parents and adults worry about the impact of screen use for themselves and their children.
There is much controversy over the effects of screen use and exposure to violence in video games. This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics rolled back some of the strict guidelines for screen time, citing that not all time children spend in front of digital devices is negative. The AAP sought to strike a balance between the increasing dependence on technology and what is healthy for young, developing minds.
Yet, a reason for concern and thoughtful monitoring of screen use remains. A 2014 study conducted by Zhejiang Normal University in China found that young adults who were addicted to online gaming showed lower volumes of gray and white brain matter than young adults in the control group who were not addicted to online gaming. Lower volumes of gray and white matter in some areas of the brain translates to increased difficulties with decision-making, impulse control and emotion regulation.
In addition, recent studies have found that excessive video game and screen time interferes with sleep, mood and social learning in children and adolescents.
Is screen time damaging?
How can gaming become an addiction?
What can we do?
Topics in this Post
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Screen Addiction
Offer Alternatives To Video Games
Once youve reduced the time your child spends playing video games, find other ways for him to occupy his time no small feat when schools out.
Search out an activity he can feel successful at, one that taps into his strengths and talents. If team sports are difficult, look into a sport that emphasizes individual performance, such as swimming, martial arts, golf, bowling, or gymnastics.
Or look into non-competitive group activities offered in your area, such as an arts-and-crafts class, a summer drama troupe, or a nature club. And remember that few children enjoy anything more than a one-on-one summer outing with mom or dad.
Are You Often Just Bored And Needing A Way To Fill The Hole
Instead of gaming, try going for a walk and sitting in the park for a while.
Go people watching or observe nature, and see if you can get lost in it the same way you do in video games.
Take up martial arts, surfing, or woodworking.
Books are another great time filler that leaves you with something you may be missing in your games knowledge. Just keep in mind that if youve been overindulging in games and social media for a while, it may take a week or two to retrain your brain again for the pleasures of in-depth reading.
Finally, sometimes it may be a good idea to learn how to be bored again.
In modern society, weve lost the magical ability to just sit and think. Often our greatest ideas come in our moments of downtime.
And often if you just force some uncomfortable boredom on yourself for a while, youll find it much easier to get motivated for other non-gaming activities youve been putting off.
Don’t Miss: How To Smoke Without Getting Addicted
Getting Help For A Phone Addiction
Just like any other type of behavioral addiction, there is help available if you think that you, or someone close to you, is a smartphone addict. There are times where therapy can help address other issues that could affect phone usage. Therapy can sometimes be effective in turning unhealthy behaviors and thoughts into healthy ones.10
This isnt to say that everyone who relies on their smartphone is addicted to it. But if you find that your phone use is having a negative impact on your relationships or career, it might be time to speak to a mental health professional.
Can Too Much Phone Usage Affect Your Cognitive Abilities
According to University of Texas researchers, having a smartphone within reach could have an impact on cognition, or the brains ability to process and hold data.
They studied 800 smartphone users to see how they would perform tasks when their phones were either in reach or in another room. All study participants were asked to take several tests that required their full attention. According to the results, the people who took the tests while their phones were in a separate room performed far better than those who were asked to place their phones face down on their desk.1
The researchers believe that simply having a smartphone within reach may substantially impair cognition. This seems to be the case even when someone feels theyre paying complete attention to a task. The conscious mind, they believe, isnt actively thinking about the phone. But the mere act of telling yourself not to think about your smartphone is a drain on the brains cognitive capacity.2
Read Also: What Is Addictive Personality Disorder
Gaming Addiction And Depression
Depression and similar disorders have been identified as both a potential cause of and the potential consequence of, gaming addiction. Depression can leave an individual feeling apathetic and hopeless about the future, thus reducing the apparent importance of any long-term work or academic aspirations and increasing the appeal of effectively inconsequential but immediately gratifying activities such as computer gaming.
The often solitary and effectively meaningless nature of computer gaming makes it even more dangerous in this regard, and various vicious cycles can develop as an affected individuals self-worth can become ever more diminished by loneliness, fatigue, obesity, poor hygiene, an inability to communicate successfully with others, lessened employment or career prospects, guilt and shame, and even a poor performance within a game or games.
Video Game Addiction Versus Gaming Disorder Additional Facts
Parents should be aware of the current medical consensus on video game addiction. While the World Health Organization recognizes gaming disorder as a condition, the American Psychiatric Association maintains that insufficient evidence is available to classify this condition as a unique disorder.
Addiction to gaming is described in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , which is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental disorders. There was not sufficient evidence to determine whether the condition is a unique mental disorder or the best criteria to classify it at the time the DSM-5 was published in 2013. However, it recognized internet gaming disorder in the section recommending conditions for further research, along with caffeine use disorder and other conditions.
American Psychiatric Association
Unlike other addictions, an over-reliance on gaming can go away on its own without treatment. Gamers tend to experience short bursts of obsessive interest that fade away and addiction affects less than 1 percent of the population. For this small percentage, however, video game addiction poses a serious problem.
Parents and families struggling with teens who they believe are addicted to video games should start by taking these five measures. If these methods do not help,make an appointment with a therapist. Quick and decisive intervention is necessary to address the underlying conditions that cause addiction.
Recommended Reading: How Do Meth Addicts Act
Information About Cell Phone Usage And Cell Phone Addiction: How Does It Start
So, how does smartphone addiction, or, for that matter, internet addiction begin? What causes it? When someone has a problem leaving their desktop or laptop computer, they might have an even more difficult time putting down their smartphone or tablet. The simple reason is you can take them wherever you go. You can access Facebook/Insta/Twitter/Snapchat in your home, your car, at the beach, or anywhere else.
For some people, technological devices stimulate a chemical in the brain known as dopamine, which makes you feel good. The problem with this chemical is that you can easily build up a tolerance. You need to spend more time looking at the screen to get the same effect.7
But phone addiction can also be a symptom of an underlying issue affecting your mental health, such as low mood or anxiety. Some people look to their smartphone as a sort of security blanket that helps them deal with those issues. But that only cuts them off from the outside world, and real interactions with other people. The solution for their anxiety could very well make that anxiety worse.8
How can you tell if you have a phone addiction? If you can answer yes to at least four of the following questions, your phone use may be a severe problem.
How To Stop Playing Video Games: Seeking Treatment
Treatment for video game addiction is similar to other kinds of addiction treatment. The biggest problem is it is impossible for video game addicts to avoid computers in their day-to-day life. That means they have to learn how to live with computers without falling back into their addictive behaviour.
The rehabilitation process will involve behaviour modification strategies and counselling. A counsellor will also address external problems that might relate to the video game addiction and help the addict understand how to stop playing video games.
Is someone you loved addicted to video games? Take a look at these nine tips thatll help you through a successful intervention.
Recommended Reading: How To Help An Addict In Denial
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
How To Avoid Video Game Addiction
wikiHow is a wiki, similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 69 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 265,153 times.
Video game addiction can be very detrimental to one’s health and social life. The following is a list detailing how to avoid becoming addicted, and how to recover if you are already addicted.
Debates On The Classification
A meta-analytic review of pathological gaming studies concluded that about 3% of gamers may experience some symptoms of pathological gaming. The report noted problems in the field with defining and measuring pathological gaming and concluded that pathological gaming behaviors were more likely the product of underlying mental health problems rather than the inverse.
Barnett and Coulson expressed concern that much of the debate on the issue of addiction may be a knee jerk response stimulated by poor understanding of games and game players. Such issues may lead both society and scholars to exaggerate the prevalence and nature of problematic gaming, and over-focus on games specifically, while ignoring underlying mental health issues.
Other scholars have cautioned that comparing the symptoms of problematic gaming with problematic gambling is flawed, and that such comparisons may introduce research artifacts and artificially inflate prevalence estimates. For instance, Richard Wood has observed that behaviors which are problematic in regards to gambling may not be as problematic when put into the context of other behaviors that are rewarding such as gaming. Similarly, Barnett and Coulson have cautioned that discussions of problematic gaming have moved forward prematurely without proper understanding of the symptoms, proper assessment and consequences.