Playing games is not bad. But when does playing a game become toxic? When does something become an addiction?
“Gaming Disorder,” a term related to video game addiction, has been added to the 2018 book of medical references, International Classification of Diseases by The World Health Organization.
There has been a debate between the gaming community and the non-gaming community. The gaming community says playing video games is not an addiction, while others speak against them. So, is video game addiction real? Even the gaming community knows it’s real, but they don’t want to admit that they are addicted.
There is a controversy about video game addiction comparable to gambling, drug abuse, or alcoholism. Video games are, by nature, addictive, and they are developed in a way that players keep coming again and again.
They are designed so that it is challenging enough to make a player keep trying while also not so challenging that the player quits it.
What is a video game?
A video game is interactive graphical software that lets the user pick a character and have an adventure in the virtual environment.
Video games in the old times used to be simple, and it was meant to be played by a single player and complete a mission or beat a high score. Even those video games were addictive. Since the world is moving towards the online era, games have adapted this online game playing style.
A player in any corner of the world can play with global people. Various online role-playing games and online multiplayer games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Players Unknown Battleground (PUBG), Freefire, Fortnite, DOTA, Call of Duty, Valorant, etc. are some of the most addictive games of today.
Some of the most affected age groups by video games are the kids. Adults have the self-control to not play because of their responsibility. But children do not have self-control and such duties, so they play anytime they get a chance.
When does addiction to video games start?
Kids these days are gifted electronic devices from their childhood. A child spends time with mobile devices as soon as they open their eyes which makes them hooked on techs and the virtual world. They learn to use it like a pro adult. Their age is at a point where they can learn things quickly.
Most gaming disorders occur in males. There are signs to watch if someone is playing too much. It starts when a child spends most time in gaming sessions, which is the first clue about video game addiction.
- They start losing track of time and do not care about other tasks.
- They become more irritable, annoyed, and aggressive towards people around them.
- They begin to ignore friends and family members.
- They start neglecting schoolwork.
- They begin to skip meals.
- They avoid stuff they once enjoyed.
What does playing video games mean to different people?
Video games are recreational and entertainment products developed by video game companies. But because of the mindset of people, it has been more than just a recreational and entertainment unit of life. It is an escape from the study, while for some, it is an escape from reality, responsibility, loneliness, bullies, etc.
- Video games are social, and one can play them sitting at home with their online friends and strangers.
- Video games provide a virtual escape from all the worldly crap to the players.
- Video games are challenging, it gives players a sense of purpose with new missions and challenges, and it is an achievement paradigm for players.
- Video games’ achievements are measurable compared to real-world achievements.
Is ‘Gaming Disorder’ worse than drug abuse or gambling?
No, gaming disorder is not something comparable to drug abuse or gambling because they are the worst addiction someone can ever have. Recovery is hard from substance abuse and gambling, but it is similar to some other kinds of addiction like coffee and cigarettes.
Gaming disorder does not involve any financial stakes or material loss like gambling. And no real life-threatening conditions and dependence on a substance that puts the health and well-being of others in jeopardy like substance abuse.
Are there any effects of video game addiction?
Like any other addiction, video game addiction also affects the addict. The effects can be categorized into two, emotional and physical effects.
Emotional effects of video game addiction
- Isolation from friends circles to spend more time gaming.
- Lost in thoughts about games.
- Lying about the time spent playing games.
- Irritated and restless behavior when not getting to play.
- Lack of concentration in other works
- Angry and aggressive towards the other players
- Always in a bad mood
Physical effects of video game addiction
- Laziness and fatigue
- Dark circles due to lack of sleep
- Mental health issues
- Eating disorder
- Poor personal hygiene and untidy surrounding
- Anxiety and panic attacks while in a crowd due to lack of social communication
- Use of verbally abusive and curse words.
- Irritated and annoyed when interrupted in a gaming session.
- Severe headaches due to eyes overstrain.
Are there any detox and recovery from video game addiction?
Almost all addiction is dangerous, and so is video game addiction, and it should be dealt with as soon as one knows someone is addicted. The recovery is slow and takes time, but it is possible to recover from video game addiction.
There are some detox and recovery ways from video game addiction, and Self-realization is the first step toward recovery. After that, one can proceed with the following methods of healing.
- Making a strict schedule for gaming.
- Keeping phones and other gaming devices out of bedrooms.
- Give away gaming setup equipment one at a time if you are a hardcore gamer.
- Spending time with friends and family members.
- Start eating a healthy diet to minimize eating disorders.
- Doing other activities like exercise reduces health risks caused by sitting and playing for long sessions.
- Doing yoga and meditation to reduce the risk of mental health issues.
- Involving in sports activities to divert the mind from video games.
- Seek immediate help from a therapist if things are really out of hand.
These are some of the detox and recovery ways from addiction to video games. If you see anyone you care about with the signs mentioned above, help them from such addiction.
If they are already addicted to video games, make them realize how video games affect them and the people around them. Make them feel what they are missing in the real world. Always be nice to them. That way, they can heal quicker from it.