Gaming is a hobby of many, and it’s not without upsides. Playing video games can serve as an escape, help you unwind from the day, and it can give you a sense of connectedness to other people. You might play games alone, or it might be one of the primary activities you engage in with friends. However, there’s a difference between someone who has a video game addiction and an avid game player who does not have a video game addiction. How do you know when it’s a problem, and how do you get help? Today, we will answer those questions.
What Is Video Game Addiction?
Video game addiction is a dependency on video games that can impact a person’s life in serious ways if left unaddressed. It can cause problems at work, school, and in interpersonal relationships. Here are signs that may indicate a video game addiction:
- Thinking about gaming all or most of the time.
- Isolation from others due to time spent on gaming.
- Becoming irritable or experiencing distress when unable to play games.
- Lying to others about how much time you spend playing games or attempting to hide the amount of time you spend playing games.
- Trouble in one’s occupation or at school due to gaming.
Some people may also experience physical consequences, including but not limited to headaches, migraines, eye strain, numbness, and pain in the hands.
Enjoyment Vs. Dependency
Again, not every gamer is someone who has a severe gaming addiction. If you are experiencing a dependency on video games, you might notice the symptoms above in yourself. When it comes to interpersonal relationships, you might fight with people in your life about how much you are gaming, or you may start to isolate yourself from others in person due to gaming. This could impact romantic relationships, familial relationships, and friendships. Irritability when unable to play games can affect this area of life in addition to your own personal or internal mental health. You might notice that video games are impacting your ability to concentrate at school or in the workplace, and you may even miss work or school due to gaming. If it feels like you spend most of your day gaming or thinking about gaming and it’s influencing your life negatively, it’s something that you deserve to address.
Who Is At Risk?
Video game addiction can impact people of all demographics, but there are some risk factors that can make a dependency on gaming more probable. A study of 7,069 gamers found that 840 of those individuals met the criteria for addiction, meaning that 11.9% of participants met the criteria for addiction. Risk factors that make a dependency on gaming more likely include gender and diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More specifically, research says that video game addiction is more commonly seen in males and those with ASD or ADHD. Kids, teens, and adults can all face dependency on video games or the internet. The good news is that this problem is gaining an increasing amount of recognition and that it is possible to find help.
How To Get Help
Seeing a mental health professional such as a counselor or therapist is an excellent way to combat an unhealthy relationship with gaming or a video game addiction. Whether you’re seeking help for gaming, trouble in interpersonal relationships, life stressors, grief and loss, or something else, therapy is a confidential and safe place to get support. To find a therapist, you can ask your doctor for a referral, search the web, contact your insurance company to see who they cover, or use a website like Mind Diagnostics that can help you find the right fit. All you have to do is type your zip code into the search bar of the Mind Diagnostics website, and you will see a range of providers licensed to practice in your area who have various specialties and work with a vast number of concerns. Regardless of how you find a therapist or counselor, you deserve to get the care that you need, so don’t hesitate to take the first step and reach out for help today.