When Gaming Becomes An Addiction
There is some controversy over whether video gaming is an addiction comparable to gambling, drug abuse, or alcoholism.
Psychology Today states that the comparison between video gaming and gambling is flawed, because there are no financial stakes or material losses involved with video games. Winning a video game requires cognitive skills and sharp reflexes, while winning at gambling is a matter of luck.
However, according to WebMD, video game addiction can be considered a type of impulse control disorder.
The source of the addictive quality of gaming is still unknown, but researchers propose that the process of playing and winning these games may trigger a release of dopamine, a brain chemical that elevates mood and provides a rush of energy. Dopamine is the same neurotransmitter involved in other addictive activities, such as alcohol or drug abuse.
Video game addiction is not currently recognized as an addictive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the definitive guide to psychiatric illness. But an obsessive preoccupation with games at the expense of real-life activities or obligations shares some of the characteristics of addictive behavior. How can a parent tell when gaming has stopped being simple entertainment and become an addiction? Here are a few of the key warning signs to watch for:
Dual Diagnosis: Video Game Addiction And Substance Abuse
Because video game addiction has been linked to depression, sleeplessness and an overall lack of concern for ones own health, it is not surprising that substance abuse is also a problem for many gamers suffering from this compulsive disorder. For those suffering from video game addiction as well as substance abuse, proper treatment is imperative to recovery. If you or someone you know is currently suffering from one or both of these disorders, seek professional guidance immediately by calling us at .
Design Of The Pleasure And/or Happiness And Vg Questionnaire
The Cronbachs alpha showed a high internal coherence between the SHAPS and three items of the Pleasure and VG within the Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG questionnaire. The fourth item has been disregarded its presence would have dropped the Cronbachs alpha to 0.685. The internal coherence obtained between the OHQ and the Happiness and VG items within the Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG questionnaire was quite high for the four items concerned . However, the internal coherence between these four items was too weak due to one item . The exclusion of this item raised the alpha significantly . Consequently, only the consistent items have been kept .
Moreover, it has been examined whether there is an association between VG play frequency and the two areas explored in this survey: the general happiness level and the emotional states associated with VG via the Pleasure and/or Happiness and VG questionnaire. The constitution of the group of frequent gamers and that of non-frequent gamers was determined by calculated median . In line with several studies linking problematic gaming and well-being and life satisfaction, a moderate negative correlation was found between VG high play frequency and the OHQ scores . In addition, there is a marginal significant difference between frequent VG users and non-frequent VG users relative to the OHQ scores.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Gaming Disorder
These signs and symptoms can be classified into two groups physical and behavioral signs. The physical signs are things that one can look out for in the appearance of a person that may indicate video game addiction, while the behavioral signs are related to changes in behavior.
Some Possible Physical Signs are:
- Bad posture
- Loss of appetite
- Weight gain or
- Swollen eyes
- More frequent seizures
Behavioral signs may be a bit harder to pick one if one is not looking out for them. At the same time, even when they do exist, they are not always an indication of video gaming addiction. Whilst many parents would like to think their kids are addicted to video games, not everyone who plays a lot of video games is actually addicted to them.
Furthermore, not only teenagers are active players of video games. A big chunk of the percentage includes adults who are over 30 years old. Addiction can be diagnosed after some characteristics become apparent.
Some Behavioral Traits to Look Out For When Trying to Figure Out if a Person is Addicted to Video Games Include:
Putative Reasons Of Distorted Perceptions Of Emotional States Associated With Vg Addiction
The social dimension of popular VG has been identified as one of the factors that may explain the addiction pattern . In this kind of competitive games, improving the required abilities and obtaining better results would be part of the key motives for VG play , that usually generates the appreciation and the acceptance of the other group players. Getting this sort of feedback from others can be motivating indeed, especially when taking into account the correlation between IGD and social isolation, low self-esteem, traumatic experiences, depression and low life satisfaction . In turn, these psychosocial characteristics are probably related also with the high impulsivity level in VG addicts , which has been found to be associated with difficulties in interpersonal relationships . Thus, it would seem that VG activities are, at least partially, sating the mentioned social and psychological deficiencies. This suggests that AUs emotional states related to VG play may be quite contrasting, in which components of happiness are intertwined with those of short-term pleasure . Now, craving for undertaking these cyber activities to respond to the mentioned social isolation issues places this emotional state much closer to the pleasure governed by desire than to atmosphere of good fellowship .
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Video Game Addiction In Children
Unfortunately, the age at which children are being introduced to technology is getting lower and lower. Children are always more vulnerable. Therefore, kids addicted to video games can face severe physical, psychological and social consequences of gaming addiction, which can be hard for both the child and the parent.
Keeping a close eye on your childs gaming activities is extremely important to prevent them from developing internet gaming addiction.
Popular Beliefs About Video Games
There are many misguided beliefs and misconceptions about video games. In some schools of thought, these computerized programs are entirely negative, promoting violence, sexism, and social isolation among young people. Other perspectives hold that video games can be a valuable tool for education and character development, allowing children to simulate the roles of powerful heroes. In reality, video games have both positive and negative characteristics, and the effect of playing games often depends on the players attitudes toward games and life in general.
Parenting Science proposes that the compelling quality of video games may not be due to an addictive response, but to a psychological phenomenon called flow. Flow takes place when individuals become so immersed in an activity that they lose track of time. Any engaging activity even work or school projects can induce a sense of flow once a person is caught up in the process. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with being immersed in an engaging, educational game, this process can turn into a compulsion if the user is unable to stop, and if it takes time away from other important activities or relationships.
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What Is Video Games Addiction
Video game addiction is described as an impulse control disorder, which does not involve use of an intoxicating drug and is very similar to pathological gambling. Video game addiction has also been referred to as video game overuse, pathological or compulsive/excessive use of computer games and/or video games.
Those suffering from video game addiction may use the Internet to access massively multi-player online role-playing games and multi-user domain games . MMORPGs are networks of people, all interacting with one another to play a game to achieve goals, accomplish missions, and reach high scores in a fantasy world. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, fighting, and killing in a social chat channel with limited graphics. Some of the most popular on-line games include EverQuest, Asheron Call, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, Vanguard, and City of Heroes. Most MMORPGs charge monthly subscription fee.
Video Games Involve Unique Risks For Addiction
There are also factors that might make gamesuniquely risky compared to other activities, making it more likely that someone will become addicted to them and play far too much.
One is easy access.
Billieux cited a patient who compared the rush he gets playing Fortnite, a very popular online multiplayer game, to his experiences skydiving. That may sound hard to believe , but its this persons genuine impression of the game.
Consider what that means for this person. In the past, he would have had to take several steps, from booking a plane to physical travel, to get the rush he got from skydiving. Now, he just needs to turn on whatever device he plays Fortnite on and immediately get that same rush.
And Fortnite is on every single gaming device, including phones. So someone can play Fortnite literally all the time, certainly far more than they can go skydiving.
Scott pointed out that this was a big problem from him: Working from home, he was always a few clicks away from games, and that made it easy to misuse them.
In contrast, Scott still plays poker and card games but now he does it face-to-face, not over the computer. Even if he wanted to, it would be difficult for him to overdo these real-life activities, because they require physical travel and, since he plays with friends, setting up a time and place with other people. As Scott told me, I cant just play poker face-to-face whenever I want.
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Video Game Addiction Is Officially A Mental Illness: Should You Worry
Five more minutes!
This is the sound you hear every time you tell your child to get off the video games for the night. But you dont hear it once. You hear it over and over again.
If it seems your childs love of video games has taken over their life and youre genuinely worried about his/her well-being, it could be headed towards what the World Health Organization has officially classified as a mental health disorder: gaming disorder.
Simply enjoying video games and playing them off and on, or easily getting caught up in video games for hours on end but eventually turning off and returning to other activities may not signify gaming disorder or video game addiction, according to the WHO. Its when the technology starts interfering with personal, family, or social health that it can officially become a problem that leads to other negative consequences.
Signs of video game addiction you can look for as a parent include:
- Impaired control over gaming
- Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities
- Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences
For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months, said the WHO.
Video Game Addiction Overview
Studies commenced as far back as 1983, although the methods used were less empirical than desirable for scientific inquiry. More recently, research into this compulsive disorder has yielded results. 20 odd years of research culminated in the addiction being officially recognized by the American Psychiatry Association as a condition that should be addressed by researchers and clinicians.
It has since been included in the updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders for the first time in the same category where other disorders like gambling addiction can also be found. Video game addiction is officially termed as Internet gaming disorder.
The definition of this addiction offered in the manual is:
“persistent and recurrent use of the Internet to engage in games, often with other players, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as indicated by five in 12 months.”
Gaming addiction has been officially pronounced as a disorder by the World Health Organization. The organization included Gaming Disorder in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases and officially recognized it as a diagnosis code.
Also, a study has been carried out where some criteria for the diagnosis of Internet Gaming Disorder were met, proving the fact that this condition is a real addiction that one can experience.
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Is It A True Addiction
Like other behavioral addictions, video game addiction is a controversial idea. While video gaming research is showing some disturbing effects, particularly in younger players, there is a lack of long-term research and insufficient evidence to definitively conclude that video game overuse is indeed an addiction.
In addition, cautionary messages from groups, such as the American Medical Association, which believes that video games are potentially harmful, have to compete with the aggressive marketing of the video games industry, whose own research, unsurprisingly, shows no ill effects.
Internet Gaming Disorder is currently included as a condition for further study in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , the “gold standard” reference for mental health conditions. Therefore, although it is not yet recognized fully as a disorder, proposed criteria have been published.
The Treatment Of Internet Addiction
There is a general consensus that total abstinence from the Internet should not be the goal of the interventions and that instead, an abstinence from problematic applications and a controlled and balanced Internet usage should be achieved . The following paragraphs illustrate the various treatment options for IAD that exist today. Unless studies examining the efficacy of the illustrated treatments are not available, findings on the efficacy of the presented treatments are also provided. Unfortunately, most of the treatment studies were of low methodological quality and used an intra-group design.
The general lack of treatment studies notwithstanding, there are treatment guidelines reported by clinicians working in the field of IAD. In her book Internet Addiction: Symptoms, Evaluation, and Treatment, Young offers some treatment strategies which are already known from the cognitive-behavioral approach: practice opposite time of Internet use , use external stoppers , set goals , abstain from a particular application , use reminder cards , develop a personal inventory , enter a support group , and engage in family therapy . Unfortunately, clinical evidence for the efficacy of these strategies is not mentioned.
Helping A Child With Video Game Addiction
The first step a parent should take is to disarm their child by talking to them. When you speak to your child about their gaming habit, the first thing that will pop into their mind is that you will take away their video games.
That thought will make them defensive, and anything they say will come from the mindset of âthem + their video games vs. you.â
Therefore, you need to get on their team. Try to explain to your child, âI want to talk to you. Iâm not saying that weâre going to make any changes. First, just help me understand.â
The most important thing when trying to help your child gain control of their gaming habit is to communicate to them that you care and that you are on their team. Take an active role in helping them understand what video games do for them. Help them realize how other activities can be just as engaging. That is one of the best answers to how to break a childâs video game addiction.
In this video, Dr. K talks about why its so hard to quit playing video games.
How Can You Tell If You’re Addicted To Video Games Take A Gaming Addiction Test
You may be convinced that you’re not addicted to gaming. However, after looking over the above symptoms, you might not be so convinced. You need more information about your condition, and you need to know if you should get help.
You might find it very beneficial to take a gaming quiz. Answering some questions about your gaming behaviors can be very insightful for you. It might help you understand your own relationship to gaming, and whether or not it should change.
Answer the following questions as honestly as you can.
If you answered more than two of the above questions with a yes, then you most likely have a gaming addiction.
If you are addicted to gaming, there’s no need to worry or panic. It’s understandable that you didn’t mean to become addicted to anything. Most people don’t realize that it’s even possible to form a gaming addiction. However, please know that you can get help to stop gaming and recover.
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What Factors Might Contribute To Video Game Addiction
A number of risk factors have been linked to video game addiction. Male adolescents seem especially prone to problematic gaming. Researchers have linked excessive gaming to traits such as impulsiveness, higher acceptance of violence, and lower social skills. Related mental health diagnoses include ADHD, depression, and anxiety. Motivation also matters people who game for fun or to be social seem less likely to become hooked than people who game for status or to escape from their problems.
We Dont Fully Understand Why But Some People Are More Susceptible To Addiction Than Others
So what makes the minority of people with addiction problems different than the majority? Researchers dont have a conclusive answer to the question, but they say its likely a whole host of factors.
Some of it may be other mental health issues. Scott pointed out that his addiction flared up when he felt despair. When he was at his worst with his gaming, he said, I was feeling really down about life, not sure what to do with myself. Video games gave him an out, letting him set aside his despair for a little while. Other mental health problems, like anxiety, could play a role too.
It also could be genetic. Some people just experience fewer temptations, or have more willpower, than others. Scientists dont totally know why.
A persons environment could play a role too. Maybe video games, particularly free-to-play online games, are the only affordable release at the end of a long workday that a low-income person can find, making it easier for him to get trapped in it. Perhaps someone will be forced to move to a place where she doesnt have friends, family, or previous hobbies, so games will quickly become the only thing that gives her joy, and soon enough its all she does. It could be that, for some people, games are uniquely accessible, making them easy to play too much as was true in Scotts case, working from home.
And it could be all of these things combined or something else entirely. No one knows for sure, whether for gaming addiction or other forms of addiction.
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