Gaming Addiction Is Just As Serious As Any Other Addiction: Here’s Why!

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Your gaming addiction needs to stop

Story Highlights
  • Gaming disorder refers to playing games for most of the day while isolating yourself and ignoring life activities.
  • Spending extended periods on video games can cause stress, anxiety, reduction in cognitive and academic abilities, low attention span, and poor memory.
  • Tackle the addiction by spending time with friends, indulging in recreational activities, and cutting down your screen time.

The endless array of video games and convenient access to them is causing gaming addiction in young people. They find themselves hooked to their gaming devices, thereby spending a large portion of the day in front of the screen.

When this is done repeatedly on most days, a gaming disorder is developed, defined as “a pattern of persistent gaming behavior that takes place predominantly either online or offline, and comprises impaired control, increasing priority of gaming over other activities, continuation and/or escalation of gaming, as well as demonstrable distress and/or significant impaired everyday social functioning” (Li Li et al., 2021). 

Is Gaming Addiction Bad?

Anything, when done in excess, causes adverse effects. The same goes for playing games for long hours. It can actually have adverse consequences on your physical and mental health, as well as give rise to other issues.

For instance, the study by Farchakh et al. (2020) linked video game addiction to poor memory, attention, and cognitive abilities. Another study by Zamani et al. (2009) found that playing video games for long hours leads to heightened anxiety, lack of physical activity, an increase in violent behavior, and poor social interactions.

Besides this, spending excessive time on video games can cause individuals to socially isolate themselves and retreat from their real lives (Kuss, 2013). Moreover, repeatedly failing to pass game levels can induce a lot of stress and anger in the player, leading to self-depreciative feelings.

prolonged gaming
Failures In Gaming Produces Stress And Negativity Emotions (Image By Louis Laves-Webb)

Considering these psychological findings, it is evident that video game addiction causes nothing but adverse effects on an individual’s health and cognition. People with this disorder tend to ignore their work and responsibilities just for a few extra minutes of gaming.

What Factors Encourage Gaming Disorder?

A meta-analysis of 53 studies comprising 226,247 participants across 17 countries showed that the prevalence of gaming disorders worldwide was 3.05% (Stevens et al.,2020). Male gender and younger people are more prone to addictive gaming than females and older people (Andre et al., 2020). So, what factors encourage an individual to play video games excessively? It’s a combination of psychological, social, and physiological factors.

Introverts would rather spend time alone, playing games rather than going out and socializing with people. Additionally, achieving in-game rewards and winning levels gives individuals a false sense of control, especially if they believe they have little control over their actual lives. It also creates a sense of fulfilment and induces a temporary adrenaline rush, making them feel better about themselves.

Furthermore, loneliness and low social support also contribute to unhealthy gaming habits (Mohamed et al., 2022). When an individual feels lonely and have no friends to reach out to, they turn to gaming as an escape from their miserable reality.

Gaming Disorder Causes Isolation
Gaming Disorder Causes Social Isolation (Image By Sky News)

Ways To Overcome Gaming Addiction

While addictions are challenging to overcome, it is certainly doable. Break down the goal into smaller steps and begin with the easiest, so as you succeed at these smaller goals, they will motivate you to do better.

Start by allocating a certain amount of gaming time. An easy approach would be to start cutting down 30 minutes of your usual gaming time and continue doing so until you achieve the ideal hours. Spend this extra time indulging in your hobbies or just being with nature.

Spend Time With Nature
Spend Time With Nature (Image By One Medical)

Next, having genuine friends you can hang out with when you are bored, stressed, or just want a short escape from your daily schedule is essential. Meet with them or catch up via calls to feel better and emotionally supported.

It might not be as easy as it sounds, but I believe taking small steps will certainly help achieve the target goal in no time. If you feel demotivated during the process, remember why you started it in the first place, and it will help clear up your perspective and bring back the motivation boost.

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