Last updated: 11/1/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Computer gaming gives players a sense of power, excitement, and accomplishment. Like other addictive substances such as alcohol or drugs, computer gaming draws the person in by increasing endorphins in the brain and if not controlled, can lead to obsessions or other unwanted and unhealthy consequences.
Also like other addictions, computer gaming addiction can be recognized by signs of:
1. Uncontrollable Urges
People love to play games and competitive activities are healthy in the sense that they increase our ambitions and give us a sense of joy. However, the old saying, “there’s a time and a place for everything” still holds true. When a person engages in these activities longer than they intended, at unacceptable times or places, and at the risk of negative consequences, they may be considered addicted.
2. Preoccupation or Lack of Interest in Important “Real World” Activities
Computer gaming is an ever evolving system of luring activities for those seeking to escape reality for whatever reasons and there are many reasons people may feel they need a break or even deserve the break.
Preoccupation with computer gaming is a sign of addiction when the person becomes distracted from or disinterested in family, work, school, or other important events. They may become uncommunicative in social settings unless they are talking about computer games or they may show signs of irritability until they can escape into the virtual world again.
3. Defense Mechanisms
When someone becomes addicted to computer gaming, they may deny their time spent on the gaming behaviors or the fact that certain consequences are a result of their gaming behaviors.
Denial is often the first sign that something is wrong and like, alcoholics, the person may minimize the distress or harm being caused because computer gaming is legal and their use of the internet is required for daily school or work activities, so it can’t be avoided.
4. Social Complications
Using computer gaming to avoid real life problems is never a good idea. Some people have trouble coping or fitting in with others and computer gaming becomes a valuable tool for them to feel better about themselves and become involved in something, but, it doesn’t solve the problems and actually, makes them worse.
According to an article published by the National Institutes of Health,” addiction to computer games affects various dimensions of health and increases physical problems, anxiety and depression, while decreases social functioning disorder.”
5. Physical Complications
Spending hours on gaming can cause a person to suffer many physical problems. They may develop poor eating and hygiene habits or lack exercise.
Physical signs of computer gaming addiction include, back problems, headaches,carpal tunnel syndrome, weight problems, poor endurance, fatigue or weakness, and sleep disturbances which can lead to psychological consequences.