Video Game Addiction

Game Addicted Boy

Defining Video Game Addiction

Video Game Addiction is an impulse control disorder with symptoms and effects similar to those of addicts, especially gambling addicts. People who have a this addiction feel as though they can make stronger connections in the virtual world than in everyday society, and depend on video games for boosting self-esteem, thereby increasing social interactions with other gamers. The most popular types of addictive video games are role-playing as there is no beginning and end or getting from one level to another, but instead playing different characters and working in teams to complete a mission. The cross between recreational and addictive video game playing is the overall outlook on it.

While recreational players understand priorities and when to put the game down, addicts constantly want to play, for hours on end and think about it even when not playing. Men and boys are more likely than women and girls to be addicted to video games. It is a form of non-substance addictions, some other forms are Internet addiction, Work addiction, Shopping addiction etc.

Signs and Symptoms

  • preoccupation with the game
  • headache
  • dry eyes
  • backache
  • Carpal Tunnel syndrome
  • strained or loss of personal relationships due to commitment to game-playing
  • use of game as a form of escape from stress and anxiety or to boost self-esteem
  • inability to cut back on game-playing

Causes and Risk Factors

People who turn to video games may struggle with forming personal relationships and make friendship based on mutual interest. However, dependency and possible health risks may occur when it turns into an obsession. People may withdraw from real life social settings and see fellow players and the parameters of the game as reality. Additionally, they revolve their lives and activities around the game, which can be detrimental for daily functioning. Some long-term health risks include:

  • constantly thinking about the game
  • irritability especially when the game needs to be stopped
  • restlessness
  • decrease in grades
  • lack of ability to concentrate on school work
  • social awkwardness
  • eating and sleeping irregularities
  • irregular hygiene patterns

Treatment

Like most addictions, the way to eliminate the power of the addiction is through “detoxification” of video games from everyday living. A common solution would be the expose the person to environments and scenarios that involve meeting people in a real life social setting away from the computer.

Additionally treatment programs as provided in a rehabilitation facility may be beneficial to help realize that the addiction is the problem and look for alternative solutions to get people back to daily living.

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