What is Internet Gaming Addiction?

Addictions Content Team Info icon
Calendar icon Last Updated: 06/8/2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Internet gaming addiction encompasses any number of game formats, including the standard shooting, arcade and card games as well as the multiplayer role-playing games. In essence, internet gaming addiction works in much the same way as any other form of addiction, altering chemical processes in the brain and driving compulsive behaviors.

Unlike substance-based addictions, the actual behavior (gaming) acts as the triggering mechanism that sets off chemical changes in the brain. From there, these changes gradually reconfigure the brain’s chemical pathways and ultimately change how the brain works. These developments account for the profound changes that take place in a person’s character and overall personality once addiction takes hold.

Is it Really an Addiction?

Depending on the user, playing games on the internet can in fact turn into an addiction. Studies have found that some people become obsessed with games to a point in which they begin to take part in addictive behaviors such as compulsivity, lack of caring about other obligations, and a complete lack of desire to do anything besides game.

When gaming addiction sets in, treatment may be the only suitable option for help. Without treatment, psychological elements of the addiction go uncared for and can cause long term problems for the individual. Behavioral effects can last a lifetime and are likely to continue to mark the individual with difficult in work, home and school function.

Treatment Considerations

When left untreated, compulsive gaming behaviors can quickly take over one’s life much like a drug or alcohol addiction does. Before long, declines in a person’s physical and psychological well-being start to surface making it all the more difficult to regain control of his or her life.