How to Notice Gaming Addiction

Many parents fear what is often called the “growing gap” between children who are being raised with gaming consoles versus those who aren’t. They’re concerned that their child’s gaming habit will lead them into real-life trouble. But what exactly is gaming addiction? What are the causes and effects of gaming addiction?

Gaming Disorder

Many people believe that gaming addiction is the same as substance abuse or alcoholism because of the similarity in the symptoms of each disorder. Gamers are often very immersed in the game they are playing and may develop an intense form of attachment to the character they are controlling and caring for. In many cases, these characters can represent characters from the past, present, or future. And, depending on how seriously a gamer is attached to the character they are controlling, the consequences of losing that character can be dire.

Physical Signs

Gaming addicts spend playing hours at a time. They spend so much time that their personal hygiene changes significantly. They wash and shower multiple times a day, and they may even use a personal hygienic powder or facial cleanser after playing hours. Their sense of personal hygiene changes drastically as well, and they will spend hours playing in their underwear, sleeping in socks and pants, eating foods that are inappropriate for their weight and body type, or eating after hours so that their blood sugar and neurotransmitters are very balanced. Their blood sugar and neurotransmitters are altered, which is also a common symptom of other types of disorders like anxiety, depression, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), bipolar disorder, etc.

Social Signs

One of the major social impacts of video games is the impact on relationships with family, friends, or even significant others. Many gamers become frustrated because they are unable to have regular conversations with someone they care about. If they do speak to someone, they often say hurtful and disparaging things behind their friend’s back. This type of behavior continued over months and years until the individual began to feel the negative consequences of their actions. This is a great example of why it is so important for a gaming addiction treatment center to intervene and provide individuals with the proper resources that they need to recover from their addiction.

Financial Significance

Gaming addiction affects many gamers’ financial situation drastically. Most people have this type of compulsion to spend so much money that it changes their entire life – sometimes even affecting their financial future. Most gamers spend thousands of dollars a month on video game accessories and upgrades. Although they probably could not afford to play video games for this amount without feeling the negative ramifications, they probably feel entitled to spend that much money if they want to.

Social and Family Life

A person who suffers from gaming addiction may also be alienated from his or her family, friends, and society in general. Addiction not only destroys relationships, but it destroys the very relationships that people try to build. People begin to withdraw from the real world, which can lead to depression, social anxiety, and other types of behavioral disorders. Gaming addiction not only destroys a person’s social life, but it can also change the very fabric of the real world around them.

Psychological Factors

Gaming addiction is believed to be caused by a combination of biological and psychological factors. Scientific research has found that the brains of addicted individuals contain an abundance of dopamine receptors that cause intense pleasure and euphoria, as well as a reduction in negative neurotransmitters. There are numerous theories as to why people develop video game addictions. Although there is probably a combination of all three factors, there are still certain areas of debate among professionals and researchers. One of the major theories concerning why many individuals develop gaming addictions is poor parenting during childhood.

Video Game Addiction

As noted before, many addicts develop intense cravings for video games, especially if they feel isolated, depressed, or anxious. These individuals frequently go into a state of hyper-alertness when they are left without their video games. This hyper-anxiety causes an even greater psychological dependence on video games and, as a result, they often develop a variety of addictions, including gambling, shopping, online addiction, food addiction, and spending excessive amounts of money on personal care products. While gaming addiction is an extreme example of a form of addiction, the overwhelming emotional and physical cravings that people feel from playing video games can become an addictive pattern of behavior.