Compared to other addictive disorders, video game addiction may not seem very serious. Kids will be kids. Or, we all need something to help us unwind at the end of the workday.
But, if you ask the parents, partners, and children of people addicted to video games, they will adamantly testify about the adverse effects of this behaviour. Like other addictions, gaming can sneak in and take over a healthy lifestyle, strain relationships, and empty bank accounts.
Video games have been a favourite pastime for kids and teens since the 1970s. Over the last 50 years, graphics have become more complex and visually appealing. With today's multifaceted games, people of all ages have become enthralled and, yes, even addicted.
In the beginning, video games were only available in arcades, limiting the access to them and the hours spent trying to beat the highest score. Now? Video games are available on computers and smartphones 24/7. They're also designed in a variety of styles, which include gambling with actual money and paid tokens. These can quickly rack up the credit card bill.
When this becomes out of control, families of the online gamer will hopefully seek help and possibly research the options in gaming addiction recovery.
WHEN DOES GAMING BECOME AN ADDICTION?
Not everyone agrees that online gaming is harmful or addictive. For many, it expands imagination, allows children to learn how to work well with others and sharpens motor and cognitive skills.
Yet, if anyone spends most of their time with online gaming at the expense of their school work or job, family events, social activities, or speaking to real people, the benefits of gaming are drastically diminished. It now interferes with a healthy lifestyle, and gaming addiction recovery may be necessary.
Compulsive video gaming negatively affects children, teens, and adults.
Numerous hours spent sitting on the couch or at a computer desk can raise concerns for the individual's health such as:
Sedentary lifestyle. The lack of physical exercise involved in online or video gaming leads to health concerns regarding weight gain, poor posture, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Decreased social engagement. Although video games require engaging with others either in person or as an online chat room setting, they don't prepare children for the realities of socializing with their peers. Adults can quickly become secluded as the comfort with their new online "community" sets in, decreasing their social activities outside of the home.
Lack of concentration and attention. Those who are exposed to the fast-paced movements of video games may exhibit decreased concentration. Less attention is put on reading, work, or school activities, which require more focus for prolonged periods of time and this focus wanes over time.
Avoidance of developmental tasks. Adolescence is a critical time for self-discovery and personal development. This age is when a young adult learns to deal with challenges, painful emotions, as well as difficult and sometimes awkward social interactions. When video gaming is used as an escape mechanism, it can lead to a developmental lag and inability to deal with these obstacles as an adult.
Increased aggression or violence. Anyone who focuses on combat, fighting, or violence may display more signs of aggression. Brains are fragile at any age, and exposing them for long periods to these negative images and thoughts can pose a severe threat to positive mindsets.
Seizures and repetitive stress injuries. Players with epilepsy or other seizure disorders are at a disadvantage when playing video games. Flickering graphics, lights, and colours make video games what they are – visually appealing and fun to watch. But, they could trigger seizure activity in some players. Health professionals also see evidence that compulsive game playing may lead to repetitive stress injuries of the wrists or hands.
When is gaming addiction recovery needed?
Video games have had both positive and negative impacts. Video games are tremendously useful for work training purposes, educational settings or cognitive therapy environments. Yet for individuals who have become caught in a cycle of compulsive gaming, video games can be destructive to their lives and their families. Gaming continues to grow in popularity bringing with it an increased awareness and the new development of facilities focused on gaming addiction recovery near you.
Gaming addiction recovery may use the following:
Behavioural modification therapies encouraging your addicted loved one away from obsessive patterns and thoughts.
Group therapy is a valuable source of motivation and moral support; especially for those who have lost contact with friends or peers due to their gaming addiction.
Medication therapy if a co-occurring issue is present such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other psychiatric conditions.
Depending on the severity of the addictive behaviour and the co-occurrence of other medical or psychiatric conditions, an intervention could save you countless nights awake, worrying about your loved one and potentially researching incorrect information. Call our interventionists today for the initial help you desire along with the long term support you and your loved one requires.
There are quality centres for gaming addiction recovery across Canada. Liberty Intervention works with them, and you, to determine where your loved one should receive the assistance they need.
THE PATH TO FREEDOM BEGINS HERE
Our team is just a call or click away to get you the assistance you need to help your loved one, or yourself.