What is Video Game Addiction?

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Written by: Lindsey Blakley
Last Updated: Jun 06, 2023

According to psychiatrists, a video game addiction isn’t technically possible. Psychiatrists would rather refer to it as Internet Gaming Disorder. Regardless, it is apparent that many people now show signs of unhealthy patterns and attachments to electronics in their life ever since the dawn of the age of the computer.

We live in a world today where many kids are given electronics to occupy them from very early ages, whether it’s an iPad to play games or even access to a TV. To put it in perspective, even newborn infants brought home from the hospital are placed in front of a TV because their parent is watching it while holding the baby. As a result, the younger generation is more apt to suffer from this electronic overuse and an inability to regulate their emotions and mental obstacles.

It is important that children, as well as adults, know how to maintain proper and healthy relationships and boundaries with the electronic devices in their life. Crucially, electronics should be used as a way to enhance our lives without overtaking and controlling them.

What Constitutes A Video Game Addiction?

Are you addicted to video games? Studies show that up to 4% of gamers [1] have a gaming addiction. 

Here are a few signs of video game addiction:

Does it feel impossible or severely cumbersome to go about your normal day of activities? Do you struggle to partake in some of the following activities –

  • School
  • Work
  • Sports
  • Socializing
  • Hygiene
  • Proper sleep

These might be video game addiction symptoms. That’s not to say that a gaming addiction can’t be easily “cured” so to speak, because it actually can be! However, you first must be able to recognize it within yourself.

Even if none of the above symptoms apply to you, there are other, subtler gaming addiction symptoms that you can still watch out for. 

Must you always keep an electronic device at your side while doing your regular daily activities? Do you really need to check your social media accounts the moment you open your eyes in the morning? Must you check your notifications in the middle of class? Are you sitting on your phone the entire time while at a friend’s house?

These are all warning signs of a potential gaming disorder. 

Are Video Games Addictive or a Cover Up for Mental Health Issues?

Your excessive video gaming habit could be a side effect of an undiagnosed mental disorder or a desire to escape from and avoid unwanted emotions.

Some signs that you might be masking a mental health issue with your electronics are: 

  • You show no interest in life outside of your electronic one
  • You get unrealistically angry or upset when problems ensue with your electronics
  • You experience extreme depression or anxiety when you cannot be with your electronics
  • You cannot maintain relationships 
  • You get bored easily or cannot focus on things happening in real life
  • Your habits affect your sleeping, eating, and hygiene habits  

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What are the Long-Term Effects of Being Addicted to Videogames?

Common long-term video game addiction effects include: 

  1. Severe eye strain and damage, especially when electronic devices are used in the dark for prolonged periods of time
  2. Bad posture that leads to chronic pains in the back, neck, and shoulders
  3. Wrist and thumb pain that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome
  4. Chronic headaches 
  5. Physical fatigue and sleep disorders
  6. Stress and agitation 
  7. Obesity 
  8. A compromised immune system 

How Can I Maintain Healthy Habits With Electronics?

First and foremost, it is crucial to set personal boundaries with using your electronics. This means duration boundaries as well as what you allow yourself to use your electronics to accomplish. Those that only use electronics for personal and professional gain or development tend to have healthier habits with their electronics. 

Secondly, giving yourself a few minutes to rest and regroup between turning off the device and beginning a real-life task will help you not to become agitated or stressed out. Meditation [2] is an extremely beneficial mindfulness exercise that brings you back to the present moment and allows you to release attachments. 

Discipline

Above all else, it takes a healthy self-discipline regime and self-accountability. Electronics are in our lives to stay, and it is best if we all learn how to use these forms of technology as a way to enhance our lives rather than meaningless forms of distraction and stimulation. If you find yourself slipping into unhealthy habits with your electronics engagement, don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance. Bringing in an outside influence can help you build a relationship while simultaneously removing unhealthy habits from your life. 

Video Game Addiction Treatment Options?

Many of the methods used to treat conventional drug and alcohol addiction can be and are applied to video gaming addiction. Although medication assisted treatment (MAT) such as Suboxone, Vivitrol, and Methadone are not applicable, clinical treatment is similar. In a treatment program designed to combat video game and other process addictions, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), 12- step principles, and counseling can all make a big impact. Inpatient and Outpatient programming are both good options and vary from patient to patient.


Treating Video Game Addiction

Video game disorder and the larger umbrella of process addictions are real. Sex addiction, porn addiction, shopping addiction, or any dependence on activities to the point of dysfunction needs to be addressed. Often, treatment centers with a strong background in electronic dependence are the best option.

Avenues Recovery are leaders in addiction rehabilitation. Whether you struggle with a video game addiction or any other addiction, If you’re seeking a warm, judgment-free, and supportive treatment center, contact us to speak with our staff and hear more about our detox and treatment programs around the USA.

Sources

[1] mpowerwellness.com

[2] www.mindful.org

Lindsey is a full-time copywriter, editor, and mother with a passion for all things related to mental wellness and personal growth. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and e-books.

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