What Are The Treatment Options For Internet Gaming Disorder
Video game addicts suffer from all the typical withdrawal symptoms such as anger, depression, boredom, loneliness, mood swings, and anxiety whenever they try to abstain from the games. The addiction results in a lot of physical discomfort and various medical complications such as dry eyes, aches, carpal tunnel syndrome, so it is advised that people consult certified addictions counselors who are well versed in the treatment of video game addiction.
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.
An Increasing Number Of Psychologists And Addiction Specialists Consider Gaming Addiction To Be Real Here Are 4 Things You Should Know
An addiction to a drug or alcohol is fairly straightforward to understand. People develop a physical and mental dependence on a substance that puts their health and the well-being of themselves and others in jeopardy. Addiction treatment centers are primarily designed for these people. Other addictions, however, are less easy to understand, but just as real.
For instance, gambling addiction exists, as does sex addiction. Eating disorders share similarities with addictions and are often treated with similar therapies.
What about gaming addiction? You likely know people who are into computer games, but can they develop an addiction to them? An increasing number of mental health professionals believe so.
Addictions are characterized by a person needing ever-increasing amounts of a substance or behavior for satisfaction. When this does not happen, irritability, misery, and physical or mental illnesses can develop. Gaming addictions have these characteristics. Here are four things you should know about gaming addiction.
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Anxiety Irritability Anger & Agitation
When the brain is constantly stimulated by video games, the reward pathway is overloaded and it does not have appropriate time to reset. Further, previously enjoyed activities become less enjoyable. Joy is reduced to time spent gaming while everything else is just blah. While gaming, someone might become anxious given the stakes of winning versus losing. Upon losing a game, they might throw a tantrum. When gaming is removed, negative moods such as anger or irritability surface.
What Causes Gaming Addiction
Video games are designed to be addictive using state-of-the-art behavioral psychology to keep you hooked. Games are immersive experiences that provide you with a high amount of dopamine, and overexposure to this level of stimulation can cause structural changes to your brain 11.The association between online gaming, social phobia, and depression: an internet survey×.
You begin to live in a world where you expect instant gratification. Games are so immersive that its easy to play for hours and hours without even noticing that a minute has gone by. They allow you to escape and see measurable progress. They are social and create an environment where you feel safe and in control.
Game developers also deploy manipulative game design features such as in-app purchases, microtransactions, and loot boxes that some governments have declared illegal because they are a form of gambling. Gaming addiction exists because game companies are billion-dollar industries and the more people they have hooked on games, the more money they make.
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Teenage Video Game Addiction
If unchecked, video games may become the center of the teens worldfinding ways to engage in play regardless of the medium, like smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and computers. Teens may become combative toward parents and guardians when homework, extracurricular activities, chores, or other familial and social obligations interfere with play.
Video Game Addiction Statistics
Researchers and social scientists have been troubled by video game addictions since the phenomenon first presented itself with the advent of video games in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, the term gaming has become a popular term used by people of all ages, not just teens. Ironically, video game addiction isnt just for kids, either. Adults can have just as much trouble turning away from video games as children do.
Some of the more recent statistics involving video game addiction are quite startling and are definitely indicators its time to start taking this type of addiction as seriously as other addictions:
With information like this, its important everyone becomes aware video game addiction is not to be taken lightly.
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What Are The Warning Signs
The American Psychiatric Association has identified nine warning signs to watch for when it comes to recognising gaming disorder. Although these can be helpful to better understand the severity of your own situation, its important to always seek the advice of a professional.
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.
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How Can Video Game Addiction Affect Health
When video game usage gets out of hand and becomes video game addiction, it means the person playing cant stop even when continued playing causes negative consequences. This level of gaming can impact mental, emotional and physical health in a variety of ways, including:
- Increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol from a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
- Neglected social skills due to lack of engagement with others outside of an electronic environment
- Problems with concentration and attention due to rapid movements and fast-paced action of video games
- Developmental problems due to avoidance of tasks that promote learning, self-discovery, and personal development
- Seizures and repetitive stress injuries from flickering graphics, lights and colors that may trigger episodes in epilepsy patients
- Increased aggression or violent behavior due to the content of some types of video games
Just like other enjoyable activities like gambling, drinking alcohol, or even eating food can be completely safe when done in moderation, video game playing can be fun, enjoyable and safe when used in healthy doses. Its when the gaming begins to take over ones life that it can lead to harmful consequences and even be diagnosed as gaming disorder.
And many times, the WHO explained, those who are diagnosed with gaming disorder or video game addiction often have a co-occurring mental illness like depression, anxiety, ADHD, or even autism.
What Causes Video Game Addiction
Researchers are still trying to determine the exact cause of video game addiction and the addictive qualities of internet and video games.
So far, researchers think the process of playing and winning video games may trigger a release of dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical that plays a key role in several bodily functions, including pleasurable reward and motivation. Dopamine is the same neurotransmitter involved in other use disorders, including gambling disorder and substance use disorder.
Recent neurological research shows similarities in the brains of people with video game addiction and substance use disorders.
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What You Believe About Video Games May Be Misguided
If you think that its impossible to get hooked on playing video games, or that you can develop video game addiction problems, you may be mistaken. While it is likely only a minority of those who excessively play video games will progress to the stage where they need video game addiction rehab, the fact is that this prospect does exist.
Video games can be good and video games can be bad. Its possible to believe one or the other, or a combination of both. Theres evidence to support video games as a useful tool that promotes character and educational development, especially as it relates to their ability to engage in make-believe, to assume the personas and personalities of superheroes.
Theres also evidence of the deleterious effects of prolonged, excessive video gaming leading to violence, sexist behavior, and social isolation. The video games themselves, as well as the players involved, have characteristics that encompass both ends of the spectrum: positive and negative. In the end, what separates healthy from obsessive and addictive video gaming is the attitude the player has toward the games and their life overall.
When To Get Help
The best means of treating any addiction, including video game addiction, is to intervene as soon as possible. The longer the condition goes untreated, the more invasive it becomes. Over time, associated thoughts, feelings, and behaviors involving gaming intensify.
Measures such as setting limits on gaming and living a balanced life outside of video gaming may prevent issues before they begin. Without having these in place, it is necessary to remain mindful of the impact gaming can have on ones life. When gaming becomes more important than anything else in life and essential life tasks begin slipping, this is indicative of a problem.
Examples of problems from excessive gaming that warrant assistance include but are not limited to
- Missing important work or school deadlines
- Detaching from social obligations or events where video gaming isnt involved
- Distancing from people who are not video gamers
- No longer finding interest in past interests due to video gaming
- Prioritizing video gaming over the physical, mental, and spiritual health
- People commenting on the problem
- Feeling as though you have a problem but trying to deny it
- Thinking about gaming and wishing you were playing when you cannot
Professional assistance is recommended if self-help measures, such as those recommended in the following section, do not help.
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My Child’s Social Life Takes Place Through Video Games How Do I Navigate That
Although children may be physically isolated while playing video games, theyre often spending time with friendsvideo games can be extremely social. And research shows that communication during games is not just about the task at hand but about social and emotional themes as well.
The fact that gaming can drive a child’s entire social life puts parents in a bind. Although it’s healthy to balance time online and off, the social needs children meet through gaming can sometimes outweigh the decision to stop them.
When To Get Gaming Addiction Help
While it is entirely possible to enjoy playing video games in moderation, or even play a game that you particularly enjoy for an extended period after you have purchased it, the distinction between being an avid gamer and having a gaming addiction can be determined through several key distinctions:
- Preoccupation with gaming where it occupies the majority of your thoughts
- Video games are played to change your mood
- You have developed a tolerance to gaming and feel the need to play more frequently
- Withdrawal symptoms are experienced when you stop playing for longer than you would like
If you, or a loved one, is experiencing any of these symptoms, help for gaming addiction is available as part of our addiction treatment programmes.
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Why Are Video Games Addictive
Research has attempted to explore why video games are addictive. One reason is that video games are designed to entice players to play them. Video games must be challenging enough to keep players playing but not so challenging they cause players to give up. Some video games have no final goal or definitive end, which allows people to play them indefinitely. This design can trigger the cycle of addiction in which the players continue to seek the immediate gratification of playing the game and earning whatever reward the particular game offers.
Many addictive video games encourage people to connect electronically with each other, which can promote endless gameplay. Some video games operate on leveling and variable reward systems, where people earn skills or rewards by beating certain levels without knowing exactly when it will occur. Knowing that a big prize will come eventually and playing to reach the next level can increase their overall playing time.
Several emotional and physical warning signs of video game addiction can indicate a problem. Individuals may be consumed with thoughts about playing and show signs of impatience and agitation when unable to play. People may be dishonest about the time they spend playing video games and isolate themselves to play longer. Physical symptoms include:
- Lack of personal hygiene.
Effects Of Video Game Addiction
Gaming addiction is a compulsive mental health disorder that can cause severe damage to ones life. Its common for a video game addict to spend over 10 hours a day gaming, usually well into the night, and many suffer from sleep deprivation 22.Massively multiplayer online role-playing games: comparing characteristics of addict vs non-addict online recruited gamers in a French adult population×. Immersed in their experience, gamers are known to have poor diets consisting mainly of energy drinks full of caffeine and sugar. Many are dehydrated and malnourished.
In more severe cases, gaming addicts report agoraphobia a type of anxiety disorder in which they fear leaving the house and others identify with hikikomori a term popularized in Japan as reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from social life 33.A preliminary cross-cultural study of Hikikomori and Internet Gaming Disorder: The moderating effects of game-playing time and living with parents×.
Gaming addicts tend to be moody and irritable, depressed, physically aggressive, and refuse to go to school or work due to gaming. To be addicted to games is to experience functional impairment in multiple areas of your life, and the long-term effects can be devastating. Gaming addicts fail out of college. They get divorced. And they struggle with unemployment.
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How To Know If Youre Addicted To Video Games
Are you worried you, or someone you know, is a video game addict? Answer this brief assessment to help you find out:
The more yes answers you have, the greater your chances are you may be addicted to video games. In that case, you deserve to get help immediately. Call a treatment center or therapist who has experience in video games addiction. Youll be glad you took the first step toward recovery.
Video Game Usage Statistics
Statistics on video game usage show average video game playing time growth. One study reported that while individuals played video games for an average of 26 minutes daily in 1999, it had increased to 32 minutes daily in 2004. Another study found that by 2009, 818-year-olds spent an average of one hour and 13 minutes daily playing video games on consoles, handheld players and other devices.
Limelight Networks conducted a worldwide survey on video game playing in 2021. The data showed a significant increase in video game playing compared to the study conducted in 2020, with statistics collected before the COVID-19 impact. The survey reported:
- People played an average of eight hours and 27 minutes of video games per week.
- Forty-four percent of respondents played video games for at least seven days a week.
- Twenty-five percent of respondents played video games for at least 12 hours weekly.
- One-third of respondents reported playing video games for at least five consecutive hours.
- Binge gaming increased by 13%.
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