How To Treat Video Game Addiction
The important thing to remember is that no matter what difficulties youre trying to overcome, youre not alone. Now that gaming disorder has been recognised as an official disease, more and more people are able to seek the help that they need.
The good news is that help is available for someone struggling with gaming disorder. Game Quitters is an online peer support community with hundreds of free videos, a community forum, and an affordable program for both gamers and for parents.
If youre looking for professional help, browse our directory for a video game addiction therapist.
If youre struggling to imagine your life being any different, have a look at our library of video game addiction stories. Hundreds of people have turned their lives around through Game Quitters, and you can do the same.
Even if you dont want to quit gaming forever, you might be amazed how much your life could change if you take some time away from video games. Dont look back a year from now and regret not taking action.
Take 90 days off gaming now, and change your life for the better.
Physically Suffering Because Of Gaming
When gamers find it hard to quit, or even put the game down for a second, it can cause their health to suffer. This could include things like lack of sleep, not eating proper meals, or even poor hygiene.
It can cause a person’s health to degrade as they develop more serious illnesses due to their bodies not functioning properly. The best way to handle this is to make sure that gamers are taking care of themselves first and playing games second so they can be healthy, while still finding happiness.
Know When To Find Professional Help
If your partners video game playing has veered into full-blown addiction , its time to call in some extra support. Consult a couples counselor and voice your issues in a session, encouraging your husband to come along. Once you both have a clear idea of the difference between healthy and unhealthy habits, you can get on the same page and, if youre both committed, work back toward a closer relationship.
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Why Are Video Games Addicting
Despite the positive aspects of gaming, video games can cause problems within the brain. This is because of the way addiction works within the brain .
There are four big reasons why video games are addicting, all of which are direct video game effects on the brain:
- High degree of immersion
- Thrill-seeking nature of the games
Video games impact the brain on the neurochemical level. Gaming activates dopamine pathways in the brain. Dopamine is the feel-good hormone, associated with pleasure. The brain reacts favorably to activities that cause the release of dopamine. Simply put, gaming feels good, so people do more of it to keep feeling good. Video games provide a dopamine fix, and people need to keep gaming to get more.
Video games stimulate the brains behavior reward system. When you make progress and earn rewards, youre encouraged to keep going. The more you play, and the better you play, the more youre rewarded by the game or by status among peers. The rewards you earn in video games must be earned, often with difficulty. When theyre withheld until you complete challenges, you get them sporadically. This sporadic or random reward pattern is very addicting. You keep playing because the next reward could be right around the corner.
Further, thrill-seekers are more vulnerable to video game addiction than non-thrill seekers. The nature of games is alluring, satisfying their inherent need for new and exciting experiences.
Even Meditation Game Apps Can Be Addictive
Pretty much every mobile app with a gamification component is designed to lure your focus and cordon off the outside world. Meditation apps are no exception.
Even games that are not designed to simulate stress, like the app Headspace which I use and which has good empirical research behind it, can be addictive, says Chandler, who limits his usage of the app, fighting the temptation to do five sessions a day.
A few years into my Candy Crush obsession , I deleted the app. I did it mainly for the sake of improving my sleep. It helped.
But a few weeks later I got bored and downloaded a new game and another, and another. I fell right back into old habits. Is it really so bad if Im addicted to phone games? Id ask myself, countering, Its not like Im abusing drugs. Heck, I dont even drink anymore. Play the game!
The moment we start rationalizing our behavior to ourselves is the moment we should know a change is needed.
When we have the opportunity to rationalize a behavior, that’s a sign you have to work against it, says Chandler. This is a powerful psychological theory: resolution of Cognitive Dissonance. On some level you think it’s bad and so you’re having to talk yourself out of feeling bad. If our behaviors and our thoughts about them are out of line, its easier to change our thoughts than our behavior, but its the behavior we have to focus on.
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Am I Addicted To Video Games Gaming
The question, Am I addicted to video games and gaming? isnt always easy to answer. First, gaming disorder and the concept of video game addiction are still new, so researchers, mental health professionals, and gamers themselves are trying to figure things out. Also, as with any addiction, when youre immersed in gaming, it can be difficult to tell if you have a problem. Use this questionnaire as a tool to help you answer the question, Am I addicted to video games and gaming?
How Our Helpline Works
For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the PsychGuides.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.
We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you.
Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither PsychGuides.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.
For more information on AACs commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page.
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How Can I Tell If I Am Addicted To Video Games
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you want to look for some signs of video game addiction:
- Is gaming getting in the way of your academic performance?
- Are you not doing as well in school because you spend too much time playing video games?
- Is gaming getting in the way of your professional success?
- Are you not moving forward in your life because your time is taken up by gaming?
- Are video games interfering with your physical or mental health?
- Are you gaining too much weight? Should you be losing weight?
- Is gaming getting in the way of your sleep?
- Does gaming create problems in your relationships?
- Are you not able to find a romantic partner because you spend so much time gaming?
- Is gaming creating stress between you and your parents? Is there a disconnect between your idea and their idea of an appropriate amount of time spent playing video games?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then your gaming habit is a problem.
Check out this interview in which Dr. K interviews a hardcore gaming addict:
Can You Really Be Addicted To Video Games
The latest research suggests its not far-fetched at all especially when you consider all the societal and cultural factors that make todays games so attractive.
Charlie Bracke cant remember a time when he wasnt into video games. When he was 5, he loved playing Wolfenstein 3D, a crude, cartoonish computer game in which a player tries to escape a Nazi prison by navigating virtual labyrinths while mowing down enemies. In his teenage years, he became obsessed with more sophisticated shooters and a new generation of online games that allowed thousands of players to inhabit sprawling fantasy worlds. Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls he would spend as much as 12 hours a day in these imaginary realms, building cities and fortifications, fighting in epic battles and hunting for treasure.
His life there fell into a familiar rhythm: He woke up, went to work, returned home, played video games until late and repeated the whole cycle. It did not strike me as weird at all, he recalls. It felt a lot like high school, but with work instead of classes. And the time I used to spend hanging out with friends was gone, because they had moved to different areas, he says. And I kind of just thought that was the way of the world.
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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.
Am I Addicted To Video Games Gaming A Self
When youre caught up in gaming , it can be hard to see problems and struggles in yourself and your own life. If youre asking, Am I addicted to videogames, it can help to have a way to reflect on what youre experiencing.
This Am I Addicted to Video Games, Gaming questionnaire is designed to walk you through some of the gaming addiction symptoms and signs of addiction to video games. This is not a formal psychological assessment and is not meant to diagnose. Instead, it will help you answer, Am I addicted to gaming?
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Factors That Lead To Gambling Addiction
specialists state that compulsive gambling may be a reason for biological, genetic, and environmental factors Gambling addiction: Symptoms, triggers, and treatment, such as:
- age and sex
- family or friends impact
- drugs with rare side-effects .
Other studies add the following triggers to the mentioned above Gambling:
- traumatic conditions
- other addictions
If not interfered, the problem gambling may cause very serious and lasting effects for individuals’ life Compulsive gambling – Symptoms and causes:
- relationship related issues
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:
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Is Video Game Addiction Real
There is no such thing as âvideo game addiction,â but the American Psychiatric Associationâs Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the official standard for psychiatric diagnoses, does list âInternet Gaming Disorderâ as a real condition.
The APA defines addiction as âa brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences.â
But this definition, Grammar says, âdoesnât allow for a behavior to be an addiction.â
âFor someone to be diagnosed with an addiction of any kind, there must be tolerance and withdrawal, which only a very, very small percentage of gamers ever experience,â he adds.
Under these terms, gaming isnât an addiction, but that doesnât mean it canât be problematic. It is perhaps more accurate to say people can become âobsessedâ with video games.
âAn obsession is a behavior we become attached to for psychological reasons,â Reiss tells Inverse, âso attached, that we begin automatically seeking and taking part in the behavior without considering the consequences.â
While some gamers can really long to play a game they love, if it is unavailable, they donât experience withdrawal symptoms as a result.
Why Is Video Game Addiction So Prevalent
No definite scientific consensus is established in determining whether gaming is addictive. It regarded Internet Gaming Disorder as an unverified potential diagnosis with the need for additional review by the American Psychiatric Association.
The APA defines addiction as a psychological disorder that manifests through compulsive substance usage despite the harmful consequences. Consequently, it excludes the possibility of any behavioral addiction.
Only a very little part of gamers show the symptoms of a disorder particularly when it comes to specific symptoms of withdrawal or tolerance. For this reason, several people say over-use of games can act as a habit or become symptoms of another condition.
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Cant Quit Spend A Few Sessions In Therapy
If youre unable to stick to reasonable time frames or strike a healthy balance between online and offline life, a therapist specializing in addiction can be of help, and you likely wont need their services forever.
If you’re having trouble, it shouldnt take more than four or five sessions to figure out what to do, says Strohman.
As for me, Im regaining balance by setting an alarm when I play a game , as well as keeping the phone off my nightstand come bedtime. I actually keep it under my nightstand, out of reach, which is also helping me limit my access to the snooze button come the morning.
Going From Healthy To Unhealthy Gaming
Games stimulate the brain’s reward center â this is what makes it so easy to slip from healthy to unhealthy use without even realizing it.
âThe process is usually a gradual decline that can be hard to notice and easy to explain away,â Grammar says.
Examples include âplaying a little bit longer each time, starting to make more and more friends in the online gaming universe, and prioritizing the game over real-life engagements and activities.â
Craig, the 31-year-old gamer in California, says playing video games started as a way to bond with friends.
âIt seems like we were all super into gaming in middle school and even a bit into high school,â he says.
But soon, he found that his friends were more interested than he was in going to parties, playing sports, and doing other activities.
âI tried to get into that stuff, too,â he says. âBut whenever I went out with them, Iâd just think about how I wanted to be home gaming. So eventually, I really only had friends who were also interested in that.â
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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.