Video Game Addiction: What is it and what are the Signs?

Gaming is not only fun but packs some amazing cognitive benefits such as improved coordination, concentration, problem-solving skills. However, it can also be addictive. Although it’s yet to be officially recognized as a diagnosable disorder, video game addiction is a genuine mental health problem.

According to the World Health Organization, it affects about 6 to 15% of gamers globally. Knowing the signs of video game addiction is the key to ensuring you or someone you know, for instance, your child doesn’t end up an addict. Below we define what exactly video game addiction is, and some of the most obvious signs.

What Exactly is a Video Game Addiction and What are the Causes?

According to WHO, video game addiction, also known as gaming disorder, is a form of internet or computer addiction, which in most part, is characterized by persistent gaming behavior either online or offline. The habit often causes the individual to prioritize gaming over other life interests regardless of the negative impact this causes in their life. In other words, video game addiction is the compulsive use of video games in a way that negatively impacts other areas of the gamer’s life.

What causes it? Well, while there are many causes, video games are usually designed to be addictive. They often feature elements and challenges that cause the player to keep on playing. Even if they manage to surpass a certain level, the game brings on another challenge for them to conquer.

Signs of Addiction

How do you cross the line between a gaming hobby and an addiction? Read on the signs of video game addiction below.

1. Loss of Interest in Other Hobbies

Gaming takes over an individual’s life such that the only thing they think about and want to do is play video games. For instance, if your child previously enjoyed swimming after school, they’ll no longer be interested in that and will be heading straight to the gaming room whenever they come home. Other than a lack of interest in hobbies, individuals addicted to gaming also isolate themselves from their friends and family. This is because no one matches their energy for gaming.

2. Withdrawal When Unable to Play

An individual who is addicted to gaming tends to exhibit withdrawal symptoms when gaming is taken away, or when they are forced to do something else other than playing. For instance, a child who is addicted to gaming becomes extremely irritable, bored, sad, angry, or anxious whenever they are told to stop playing.

3. Use of Games to Avoid or Escape Stressful Situations

When alcoholics are stressed, they often turn to alcohol to avoid or escape the stressful situations. The same case applies to addicted gamers. Whenever they’re slightly stressed, they’ll often run to their gaming room to escape the situation at hand.

4. Health Problems

Individuals addicted to video gaming spend so much time playing they end up being fatigued. They may also get constant migraines due to eye strain or the intense concentration gaming requires. They also neglect their hygiene.

Other signs of video game addiction include;

  • Justifying their excessive use of video games (others play more than me)

  • Feeling guilt after playing video games for extended periods

  • Poor performance in school or at work

  • The inability to stop playing despite seeing the negative impact of gaming in their lives

Although it may not seem like it, gaming disorder is an addiction like any other. Knowing the signs of video game addiction is the first step to conquering the problem.