Table of contents
Today, video games are a very common form of entertainment in our society and as a result, excessive and harmful video game use is on the rise.
It is important to recognize the signs of addiction because if left untreated, the negative effects are increased. Some children or teens who have difficulty relating to others play video games to avoid feeling lonely and break the monotony, while some only do so occasionally, others become obsessed with video games and begin to feel more comfortable in the video game world than in the real world. In the latter case, it is called video game addiction.
In this article, I will discuss the symptoms, consequences and treatment of video game addiction.
Symptoms of video game addiction
Some of the symptoms of video game addiction are:
- Significant negative impact on work, academic and/or interpersonal performance.
- Spend most of your free time playing video games.
- Play video games between 6 and 8 hours straight.
- Loss of interest in social activities.
- Avoid responsibilities or commitments to continue playing, for example, staying up late playing, not being able to get up early the next day and, therefore, not fulfilling the commitments of that day.
- The person is only happy when playing.
- The person is distracted by video games: he has difficulty concentrating on other things because he is thinking about when he will be able to play again.
- Aggressiveness, irritation..., when he can't play.
- Lies about the time spent on video games.
- Play video games to escape from problems, anxiety or depression.
Video game addiction: consequences
Video game addiction does not have the same impact on all people who experience it. Some of the negative consequences of video game addiction can be:
1. Emotional problems
People with video game addiction may be at increased risk of depression , loneliness, social phobia , anger, and feelings of shame from spending so much time playing games. It must be taken into account that these problems can be consequences of addiction, but they can also play a role in the development of pathological gambling.
2. Financial problems
In the case of children, this is not usually a problem, but it is for adults and adolescents who can spend large amounts of money on computers, consoles, subscriptions, etc. Furthermore, in extreme cases, economic problems can occur when the person loses motivation to work, being able to be fired or not work full time.
3. Health problems
Video game addiction is usually related to poor sleep habits, poor personal hygiene, little physical activity and inadequate nutrition. In children, some studies have shown its association with childhood obesity.
4. Social problems
As the addiction worsens, video game addicts tend to spend more time playing games and less quality time with friends, family, or other important people in their lives. The addicted person may say they have many “online friends” and experience loneliness , depression, and social isolation due to a lack of personal contact with others.
5. Family problems
These types of problems may be the most common difficulty in people with video game addiction. Family problems are usually a consequence of addiction, but keep in mind that in some cases poor family relationships can increase the likelihood of developing addiction.
Video game addiction treatment
There are several treatment options to help people addicted to video games stop gambling and begin social and emotional recovery.
On many occasions, video game addiction is an attempt to mask certain emotions or the result of poor or inadequate social skills. For this reason, most treatments revolve around helping the person become more social, overcome negative emotions, and find more productive things to do.
Some of the most used methods to treat video game addiction are:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most recommended therapy for gambling, but there are other types of therapies that can work as well.
- Family therapy: Sometimes video game addiction is the result of family problems or poor family interaction. Family problems can favor the excessive use of video games. For these cases, family therapy is aimed at improving family relationships, indirectly treating gambling behavior.
In addition to psychological intervention, there are studies that show good results with a medication (bupropion) to treat video game addiction.
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