Video Game Addiction! It’s a Real Thing

Internet Gaming Online Computer Addiction

Gaming Addiction: Lost in the Virtual World

Video gaming on public transport is a common sight.
Video gaming on public transport is a common sight.

Gaming—online or offline, first-person or multi-players, console, PC, tablet, or mobile phone—provides lighthearted fun and entertainment and is a great way to keep boredom at bay.

Video games have become an integral part of life for more and more adults, teens, young children, and even toddlers.

Whether you are waiting in line, on public transport, in the restroom, or in any situation where you find yourself idling, out comes the mobile phone and let the gaming begin.

Surprising Benefits of Video Gaming

Before we delve into the harmful effects of video games, it’s pertinent to know that research has found evidence supporting the idea that playing video games:

  • reduces stress,
  • overcomes dyslexia,
  • promotes teamwork, and
  • enhance your decision-making speed.

It can even help improve your hand-eye coordination, which is excellent news if you are a fighter pilot, race car driver, or surgeon (or patient of such gaming surgeons.)

The Dark Side of Video Gaming

However, the fascination with video games and the digital gaming world is not without its drawbacks.

In March 2010, a South Korean couple was indicted and convicted of child abuse and neglect following the suspicious death of their infant daughter.

The couple spent an average of ten hours a day playing online video games and fed their daughter only once a day—resulting in dehydration and malnutrition—while immersed in the upbringing of a virtual child. Such was the irony.

When Virtual Killing Becomes a Reality

Children and young adults are impressionable. They are not known for having much restraint or self-control. When online violence—from kicking and punching to stabbing and hacking to shooting and bombing—is added to the mix, the outcome is a disaster waiting to happen.

Case in point, CNN reported on August 26, 2013, that an “8-year-old shoots, kills elderly caregiver after playing video game”.

The Huffington Post published the story of Nathon Brooks, a 14-year-old boy who allegedly shot his sleeping parents over video games and of the ‘Killer Teens’: Boy Shoots Both Of His Parents Over Video Games.

Warning Signs That You May Be a Gaming Addict

Don't ignore the dangers of video games addiction.
Don’t ignore the dangers of video game addiction.

Common signs and symptoms of video game addiction (internet gaming disorder) include:

  • You modify your sleeping habits, either by rising early or staying awake longer, specifically to indulge in playing video games.
  • You neglect your social life, other previously enjoyed activities, personal hygiene or grooming.
  • You say: “I’ll stop. Just one more level.” more times than you care to remember.
  • Gaming became an escape from stressful or unpleasant situations.
  • You show signs of irritability, restlessness, or emotional disturbance when gaming is restricted.

“There is no pause button in real life.”

  • You suffer from symptoms of physical or psychological withdrawal like sleeplessness, agitation, anxiety, loss of appetite, or fit of anger if access to gaming is prevented.
  • Hiding or concealing the true extent of your gaming habits
  • Neglecting responsibilities, such as work, school, or personal relationships, to prioritize gaming
  • Experiencing sleep disturbances or fatigue due to prolonged gaming sessions

“You went outside once, but the sound quality and graphics just weren’t all that good.”

Ryan G. Van Cleave, author of ‘You Know You’re a Video Game Addict If…

In general, your gaming behaviour patterns must be extreme enough to impair your personal, family, social, educational, or occupational functioning significantly.

What Causes Video Game Addiction?

Researchers are still attempting to pinpoint the precise reason behind internet and video game addiction and the addictive properties of video games.

To date, researchers speculate that playing and winning in video games triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that plays a pivotal role in regulating pleasure, motivation, and reward processing.

Interestingly, dopamine is also implicated in other addictive behaviours, such as gambling and substance abuse, highlighting the potential neural mechanisms underlying video game addiction.

What Do I Do if a Loved One or I Had a Video Game Addiction?

If you’re concerned about your own or a loved one’s potential video game addiction and its impact on daily life, contact us today!. While the vast majority of gamers don’t develop behavioural problems, excessive gaming can have a significant negative impact on relationships, work, and overall well-being. If you’re struggling to control your gaming habits or are experiencing negative consequences, it’s essential to seek professional help as soon as possible. Our team is committed to providing support and guidance to help you regain control and achieve a healthier balance in your life.

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