Doing the things you enjoy is great. But can you go too far with a hobby? And at what point does it become an addiction? This is the question experts are trying to answer about playing video games.
But to be classified as a disease, being a video game fan is not enough. According to the WHO, the criteria does not include spending a certain amount of hours. Instead, the description is accompanied by an inability to play, even if it interferes with other areas of one’s life such as family relationships, school, work and sleep. And, these problems will usually persist for at least one year.
Although billions of people play video games, most of them do not have an addiction, and the World Health Organization estimates that the number of people struggling with an addiction is 3-4%.
What Causes Video Game Addiction?
The addiction associated with video games is not the same with alcohol or drug use, in which the brain receives reinforcement each time.
Video game designers, like anyone else trying to make a profit, are always looking for ways to get more people playing their games. They accomplish this by making a game just challenging enough to keep you coming back for more but not so hard that the player eventually gives up.
What are The Symptoms of Video Game Addiction?
- Preoccupation with video games. The individual thinks about previous gaming activity or anticipates playing the next game; Gaming becomes the dominant activity in daily life.
- Withdrawal symptoms when gaming is taken away.These symptoms are typically described as irritability, anxiety, boredom, cravings, or sadness.
- Tolerance – the need to spend increasing amounts of time engaged in video games. This may be motivated by a need for the completion of increasingly intricate, time-consuming, or difficult goals to achieve satisfaction and/or reduce fears of missing out.
- Unsuccessful attempts to control participation in video games.
- Loss of interests in previous hobbies and entertainment as a result of, and with the exception of, video games.
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Video Game Addiction
Like any other compulsive disorder, video game addiction can have serious negative consequences. Although most of the symptoms listed above have short-term effects, they can bring more serious long-term consequences if they are not addressed properly.
For example, someone addicted to video games will often have to avoid sleeping or eating a proper diet to continue gaming.
While its short-term effects may include hunger and fatigue, it can eventually lead to a sleep disorder or diet-related health issues.
Similarly, people who distinguish themselves from others for playing video games may miss family events, outings with friends, or other events in the short term. If it remains a pattern for a long time, however, addicts may find themselves without a friend.
Other long-term effects of video game addiction to consider include financial, educational, and business consequences. Video games and video game equipment can be very expensive, especially when factoring in recurring costs such as the high-speed Internet connection required for many multiplayer games.
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