Introduction to Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction is a relatively new phenomenon that is due in part to massive advancements in gaming technology, as well as the increase of home video game units and the affordability of them all. Video game addiction is not yet technically classified as an official treatable addiction, but many professionals believe it is only a matter of time seeing as how it is a wide spread problem that is showing many of the same symptoms that are technically used to identify an addiction. While this might not seem like a big deal at first glance, video game addiction needs to be treated with the same seriousness as any other addiction and treated as best such.
Some nations, especially those in Europe, already have gaming rehabilitation or "video game detox" centers to help treat people whose lives have been completely overwhelmed and taken over by gaming. If you're not convinced, keep in mind that there is more than one recorded and verified instance of a person playing video games for so many consecutive hours that they literally collapsed and died due to a combination of lack of water, movement, and sheer exhaustion. That is a pretty serious issue, and one that needs to be addressed for many reasons, not the least of which is that the problem is only going to continue to get worse, not better. With more strides being made towards virtual reality every day, that's a frightening proposition.
Symptoms of Video Game Addiction
There are several common symptoms that could be a sign of video game addiction. While these might not always be signs of a growing psychological dependency that is behind addiction of this nature, these signs should be monitored closely as they could lead to something more heinous. Not all of these are needed to equal addiction, but any one of these signs could be an early red flag.
Just a few of the possible signs include:
- Playing for increasing amounts of time, especially when it stretches for hours on end
- Thinking about gaming constantly during other activities
- Dreaming about video games all the time, or even having problems sleeping because you're thinking about video games
- Frequently losing complete track of time while playing video games
- Gaming to escape from anxiety, depression, the real world, or real life problems
- Lying to friends and family to conceal gaming
- Feeling irritable, annoyed, or angry when trying to cut down on gaming
When addiction takes hold, these symptoms will continue to get worse as time passes.
Resources for Helping Video Game Addicts
If you are interested in helping out video game addicts, there are many resources available to help out. While some places are limited due to the fact that as of May 2010 video game addiction hasn't been "officially" accepted as an actual medical tradition, there are many places in Europe that already have "detox" centers where players can check in once they accept that they need help. In addition, many countries have free counseling for students that they can take advantage of in order to deal with the situation.
There are always classic "interventions," and multiple books have already been written on the subject of video game addiction. These can be decent guides to parents who don't know what to do. In addition, if the child wants to break the addiction but is having problems, subliminal CDs (such as those to the right of this text) are never the end all be all, but some people are helped with a little "push" that can help get them over the hump. Depending on where you live, the number of resources to help out can vary. However there seems to be a consistent and constant movement towards recognizing this issue on a more widespread basis.
Video Game Addiction Treatment
Video game addiction treatment can be difficult, and the right approach can vary based on person to person and case to case, especially without knowing the degree of severity involved. Treatments can range from becoming more active in an individual's life and taking them out on alternatives to computers such as hiking, camping, and fishing - where video games can easily be removed from the area, to encouraging other activities.
For some, more drastic measures like counseling or strict rules. Males under 30 are the most likely to become addicted to video game playing, but people of all ages and genders can fall into that trap. One of the hardest parts of actually getting a successful video game treatment is that many addicts refuse to acknowledge their problem, and the ones who do have to understand that VG addiction is like food addiction: computers are a part of every day life, so you have to learn control and how to deal with it.
In many ways this will make recovery more difficult seeing as how complete cold turkey isn't necessarily an option the way it could be with drinking, drugs, or other addictions. However learning this balance is a critical part of living life and getting over video game addiction.
Addiction to Video Games, Conclusion
While at this point video game addiction syndrome may not be officially recognized as a condition, an overwhelming number of medical and psychological officials to recognize this condition, which most likely makes it only a matter of time before it does become an officially accepted condition. Considering "texting thumbs" is already seen as a legitimate and treatable condition, it only makes sense that more technology based conditions are going to be soon to follow. If you know someone who is addicted to video games, take action. This is a serious condition, and one that has many negative side effects on a person's social life and mental and emotional health.
Don't assume that video game addiction is just a passing fad, phase, or that it is in some way unimportant. If your life is being overwhelmed from playing video games to the detriment of everything else then it is long past time to admit you might have a problem and to get some help.