Like everyone that’s found a game they love, you’ve probably said that you’re addicted to it at some point. We always go on about how addicted we are to gaming, but did you know that video game addiction genuinely exists?
It’s true, and the World Health Organization genuinely added something called gaming disorder to its list of addictive behaviors. Now, a lot of you might start worrying that you actually have a proper addiction. However, it’s important to note that gaming can also still be a hobby that you love to do. There’s nothing wrong with gaming all night long and thinking about video games in your sleep. It’s no different to someone that loves football and watches every match whenever they can or goes to sleep dreaming of playing the sport.
So, if you game for hours a day and have your own video game blog, that doesn’t mean you have a video game addiction. In fact, the majority of you reading this will not suffer from an addiction. Still, it’s important to know some of the signs and symptoms of a video game addiction to be absolutely sure that you aren’t suffering. Here’s what to look for:
Relying on gaming to feel good
You feel good when playing video games, but is this your only source of enjoyment? If you find yourself relying on gaming to feel good, and you start feeling bad and depressed when you can’t game, that’s a big sign of an addictive tendency. You’re developing an unnatural mental connection with gaming, placing it on a pedestal as the key to your happiness.
This can create some confusion as a lot of gamers do choose to game as an escape from the rest of the world. That’s fine, but there’s definitely a line you cannot cross. Gaming shouldn’t dominate all of your thoughts and feelings, and you shouldn’t feel annoyed or upset when you can’t game.
Letting gaming disrupt your life
Thinking about games and gaming is part and parcel of your life as a gaming enthusiast. However, you can’t let it reach a point where gaming disrupts your life in a negative way. For example, you struggle to work because all you can think about are games – or you were up all night gaming until 7 am. For younger gamers, when gaming disrupts your schoolwork, it’s a big sign that you might have a problem.
Specifically, if you notice that gaming causes these disruptions, and you continue to game, then you most likely have an addiction.
Losing interest in everything else
Most gamers will view gaming as their number one hobby. It’s something you love doing and will always prefer doing over anything else. Nevertheless, you should have other interests and things you do. Even if it’s something as simple as watching TV or going out for drinks with your friends.
Alarm bells should ring when you give up on all your other interests and only care about gaming. This is a worrying sign as you start to shut other people out of your life to spend more time gaming at home alone.
Lying about gaming
Perhaps one of the biggest signs of gaming addiction – and any addiction for that matter – is that you start lying about your habits. You lie to friends or family about how much you play a certain game, or you start being sneaky when you play.
One massive example of this is if friends or family ask you to do something, and you say you can’t because you’re busy. Then, you stay indoors and game for the entire evening. Or, someone asks you how long you played last night, and you lie about how many hours you were actually online. It’s never a good sign when you have something to hide.
How do you treat gaming addiction?
If you notice these signs in yourself or any fellow gamers, you will want to seek help straight away. Unfortunately, gaming is quite a niche addiction. So, typical centers that offer addiction treatment might not cover this as they focus more on drugs and alcohol. As such, you may need to search for specific providers or groups that deal with this type of addiction, getting the assistance you need.
Again, to reiterate, there’s a small chance you suffer from this problem. Gaming frequently and always talking about games does not mean you have an addiction. Still, it’s important to know when things slide from being a hobby to something you should worry about.