Globally, more than 2 billion people play video games, and by 2020 the US video game market will be a $ 90 billion industry. On average, a player plays about 6 hours a week. For most gamers of all ages, video games are a fun pastime – a way to relax, chat with friends, and enjoy challenges. Unfortunately, for some gamers, the hobby of video games can turn into an addictive disorder that takes over their lives.
In recent years, the smartphone has overtaken the computer and the console as the most common gaming device, and video games are now available on applications and social media. Additionally, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) remain extremely popular. Games like League of Legends, Fortnite, Final Fantasy, and The Elder Scrolls Online draw millions of players to their virtual worlds every day. Roughly 160 million Americans play MMORPGs and other online games every day.
Like all good things, video games are best in moderation. Both adults and children can develop obsessive and unhealthy relationships with the video games they enjoy.
Why is video game addiction controversial?
Given that 75% of American families have at least one gamer, you probably know at least one person who regularly plays video games. Few would deny that someone can play video games too often, and it’s easy to say someone is “addicted” when in reality they just need to take a break. So is video game addiction possible?
There is currently no scientific consensus on when or if excessive use of video games becomes an addiction. For this reason, the American Psychiatric Association has relegate Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) as a potential unverified diagnosis that warrants further investigation. A 2017 study published in the official journal of the association left open the possibility that one day the classification could change. However, she stated that there is currently insufficient research to conclusively confirm that excessive use of video games is an addiction as defined by the APA.The APA defines addiction as “a brain disorder that occurs as a result of substance use, despite the harmful effects.” This definition virtually excludes the possibility of any behavioral dependency.
Another source of academic skepticism is the fact that only a very small proportion of players show any signs of disorder, especially specific withdrawal and tolerance symptoms. For this reason, some scientists and analyst believe that excessive video game use is just a habit or symptom of another disorder, not an addiction.
Gaming Disorder: Why Video Games Can be harmful
Even without an officially examine disorder, some people sacrifice their job and marriage to spend 60 hours in front of the computer each week. Some children and teens are so addicted to video games that they threaten their parents when they tell them to lower their control.
Many of us have read about these cases or have had experiences that show that video games are addictive. While the anecdotal evidence is not scientific research, real-life experience and growing understanding of other behavioral addictions explain why the concept of video game addiction is becoming increasingly popular. Recently, the World Health Organization contained “gaming disorder” to its official list of diseases.
Gambling disorder is defined. As a pattern of gambling behavior (“digital game” or “video game”) characterized by poor control over gambling, an increase in gambling over other activities to the extent that gambling has priority over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of games, despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
It is important to recognize that the amount of time someone spends playing a video game does not necessarily indicate that they are addicted. After all, someone can play video games for hours just because they enjoy it, but they can also stop without much difficulty.
In contrast, a person can become addicted to a video game if they cannot stop playing, even though they know they must. They know that video games make them neglect their family, friends, work and education, but they keep playing anyway because they feel better behind the screen.
When someone “wants” to play video games to be happy and is unhappy when they are not playing, it suggests that they may have a disorder as real as alcoholism or addiction to prescription drugs.
Withdrawal symptoms are often associated with substance use disorders. While abstinence from video games is still being studied, researchers have documented possible symptoms of abstinence from video games, including fatigue, headaches, insomnia, aggressive emotions, and a strong urge to play video games again.
What’s more, video games affect the brain in the same way that drugs do: they trigger the release of dopamine, a chemical that enhances behavior. For this reason, video games can be addictive. These facts indicate that video game addiction is possible.
Symptoms of video game addiction
If you suspect that someone close to you has an addictive gambling disorder, there are several important signs to look out for. If you are trying to ascertain if someone has a serious problem with a video game, answer the following questions:
- Are they isolated from family and friends?
- Do they lie to others about how often they play video games and how often they secretly play games?
- Are you frustrated and irritable when you don’t play video games?
- Do they neglect work or school to play video games?
- Do they avoid activities they used to enjoy?
- Do you skip meals to focus on the game?
- Do you often get tired of not getting enough sleep?
- Do they have physical problems due to excessive gambling, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and eyestrain?
What Causes Video Game Addiction?
Research shows that most people struggling with the symptoms of video game addiction play multiplayer games online. MMPORGs are particularly addictive because they offer an endless adventure in a fantasy world where players can essentially live a different life as a new person. They provide an opportunity to escape reality and leave real-world problems behind.
Additionally, MMPORG and other multiplayer games have large gamer communities where many people feel welcome, valuable, and useful (something they don’t usually feel in the real world). An MMPORG player can join clans, help other players, make friends, and develop their status. Although the setting is virtual, the relationship is real. For the player, the feeling of being part of something and having a role can be important and meaningful, especially if the player does not experience social satisfaction in real life. For many people who like video games, playing a game is not just “for fun.” This is your social life and the foundation of your self-esteem. The video games that exist on social media overlap in many ways with social media addiction, another behavioral disorder that is rooted in the feeling of being accepted.