Video Game Addiction (2023)

Understanding Video Game Addiction

Over 2 billion people play video games worldwide, and the market for video games was estimated to be a $90 billion industry in America in 2020. The average gamer plays for about 6 hours every week. For most players of all ages, playing video games is a fun pastime: a way to relax, connect with friends, and enjoy a challenge. Unfortunately, for some players, a video game hobby can escalate into an addictive disorder which takes over their lives.

In recent years, the smartphone has surpassed the computer and the console as the most common gaming device. Video games are now available on apps and social media. Furthermore, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) continue to be immensely popular. Every day, games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Final Fantasy, andThe Elder Scrolls Online draw millions of players into their virtual worlds. About 160 million Americans play MMORPGs and other internet-based games every day.

Like all good things, videos games are best in moderation. Adults and children alike can develop unhealthy, obsessive relationships with video games that they love.

Try Online Therapy

Over 3 Million people have turned to BetterHelp for professional online therapy.

Take the quizand get matched with a therapist.

Paid Advertising.We may receive advertising fees if you follow links to the BetterHelp site.

  • Access to Therapy 24/7
  • Easy Online Scheduling
  • 20,000+ Licensed Therapists

Find a Therapist Now

Paid Advertising.We may receive advertising fees if you follow links to the BetterHelp site.

(Video) Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: Video Game Addiction (Full Segment) | HBO

Why Is Video Game Addiction Controversial?

Since there is at least one gamer in 75% of American households, most people probably know at least one person who plays video games regularly. Few people would deny that someone could play videos games too often, and it’s easy to say that someone is “addicted” when they really just need to take a break. So is video game addiction even possible?

Currently, there is no scientific consensus on when video game overuse becomes an addiction (or if this is even possible). For this reason, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has classified “Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD)” as an unverified potential diagnosis which requires further review. A 2017 study in the Association’s official journal left open the possibility that the classification could one day change. However, it also stated that there is not enough research right now to confirm definitively that overusing video games is an addiction according to the APA’s definition. The APA defines addiction as “a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences.” This definition effectively excludes the possibility of any behavioral addictions.

Another source of scientific skepticism is the fact that only a very small portion of gamers ever exhibit any signs of a disorder, especially the specific symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance. For this reason, some scientists and researchers believe that video game overuse is a just habit or a symptom of another disorder and not an addiction in and of itself.

Gaming Disorder: Why Video Games Can Be Addictive

Even without an officially diagnosed disorder, some people sacrifice their jobs and marriages to spend 60 hours every week playing on the computer. Some children and teenagers become so attached to video games that they threaten their parents when they’re told to put down the controller.

Many people have read about such cases or have had experiences which show that video games have addictive power. While anecdotal evidence is not scientific research, real-world experience and the growing awareness of other behavioral addictions explain why the concept of video game addiction is becoming increasingly accepted. Recently, the World Health Organization added “gaming disorder” to its official list of diseases.

Gaming disorder is defined… as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

It is important to understand that the amount of time that someone spends playing a video game does not necessarily indicate an addiction. After all, someone could spend many hours playing a video game just because they enjoy it but also stop without much difficulty. By contrast, a person might have an addiction to a video game if they can’t stop playing it even though they know they should. They’re aware that the video game is causing them to neglect their family, friends, work, and education, but they keep playing anyway because they feel best behind the screen.

When someone “needs” to play video games to be happy and feels miserable when they’re not playing, they may have a disorder which is just as real as alcoholism or dependence onprescription drugs. Withdrawal symptoms commonly characterize substance use disorders. While video game withdrawal is still being studied, researchers have documented possible video game withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, insomnia, aggressive emotions, and intense cravings to play video games again.

(Video) The Bitter Reality Of Video Game Addiction

Moreover, video games affect the brain in the same way as addictive drugs: they trigger the release of dopamine, a chemical which reinforces behavior. For this reason, playing video games can be an addictive stimulus. These facts indicate that addiction to video games may be possible.

Symptoms Of Video Game Addiction

If you suspect that someone you care about suffers from an addictive gaming disorder, there are some important signs to watch out for. If you’re trying to tell if someone has a serious video game problem, consider these questions:

(Video) Video game addiction an increasing problem

  • Are they becoming isolated from family and friends?
  • Are they lying to others about how often they play video games, and do they often play in secret?
  • Do they become upset and irritable when they’re not playing video games?
  • Are they neglecting work or school to play video games?
  • Are they avoiding activities they once enjoyed?
  • Are they skipping meals to focus on gaming?
  • Are they often tired because they’re not getting enough sleep?
  • Do they have physical problems from gaming too much, like carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and eye strain?

What Causes Video Game Addiction?

Studies show that most people who are struggling with the symptoms of video game addiction are playing multiplayer games on the internet. MMPORGs are especially addictive because they offer an endless adventure inside a fantasy world where players can essentially live a different life as a new person. They provide an opportunity to escape reality and leave behind problems of the real world.

Furthermore, MMPORGs and other multiplayer games host large communities of players where many people feel welcome, appreciated, and useful (something they may not often feel in the real world). An MMPORG player can join clans, help others players, make friends, and develop a status. Although the setting is virtual, the relationships are real. For the player, the sense of being part of something and having a role to play can be important and meaningful. This is especially true if the player does not experience social gratification in real life. For many people with a video game addiction, playing the game is not just a hobby. It is their social life and a pillar of their self-esteem. Video games which exist on social media closely coincide with social media addiction, another behavioral disorder which thrives on the feeling of being accepted.

The desires for escapism and social acceptance may not be the only causes of video game addiction. Numerous studies have sought to establish the relationship between video game addiction and other mental health problems. One 2016 study suggested that people who are depressed and cope with problems in an avoidant way are more likely to become addicted to video games. Another study from 2017 found a strong correlation between video game addiction and anxiety disorders, although it’s not clear whether the addiction causes the anxiety or if the anxiety contributes to the addiction.

Common Questions About Rehab
  • What Is Inpatient Treatment?
  • How Long Does Detox Take?
  • How Much Does Treatment Cost?
  • Which Rehabs Take My Insurance?

More Frequently Asked Questions

Video Game Addiction In Children And Adolescents

Almost all American children and teenagers play video games.Among teenagers, 97% of boys and 83% of girls play at least one video game on at least one device. There is evidence that children who start to play video games at younger ages are more likely to develop video game addictions than children who start to play them when they’re older. Nevertheless, addiction to video games is a risk for children of all ages. Video game addiction is likely to negatively impact a child’s success in school. A child who plays video games obsessively will probably fail to study, finish homework, or participate in sports or school clubs. They may also be tired at school and fall asleep in class.

Try Online Therapy

(Video) Escaping video game addiction: Cam Adair at TEDxBoulder

Over 3 Million people have turned to BetterHelp for professional online therapy.

Take the quizand get matched with a therapist.

Paid Advertising.We may receive advertising fees if you follow links to the BetterHelp site.

  • Access to Therapy 24/7
  • Easy Online Scheduling
  • 20,000+ Licensed Therapists

Find a Therapist Now

Paid Advertising.We may receive advertising fees if you follow links to the BetterHelp site.

Studies have shown that playing video games excessively can negatively affect a child’s emotional development as well as their academic success. Children who have a video game addiction may be more inclined to exhibit aggressive and anti-social behavior, and they might fail to develop mature social skills. Children’s minds are especially vulnerable to forming habits and routines. Parents should make sure that their children have a balanced relationship with any video game that they play.

How Can I Address A Video Game Addiction?

If you know it’s time to overcome video game addiction or help someone who’s struggling with it, there are many resources available to help you get started. There are programs all over the country, as well as in-person and online support groups which are dedicated to helping people break free from addiction to video games.

Check if my insurance covers rehab

Addiction Center is not affiliated with any insurance.

(Video) My Video Game Addiction Story: From Hobby to Hell and Back

The first step to ending video game addiction is to put the controller down and step away. This can be difficult, which is why many video game addicts made a successful recovery only when they discard their gaming equipment or go away on a wilderness retreat. A severe problem with video games might require drastic solutions. A video game should not be the center of anyone’s life, but if it is, there is hope for getting unshackled from the screen. If a video game addiction has taken control of your life, contact a therapist today to start your path to a healthy, addiction-free life.

FAQs

Do video games cause addiction? ›

Moreover, video games affect the brain in the same way as addictive drugs: they trigger the release of dopamine, a chemical which reinforces behavior. For this reason, playing video games can be an addictive stimulus. These facts indicate that addiction to video games may be possible.

How many hours of video games is considered addiction? ›

Gaming addiction is a compulsive mental health disorder that can cause severe damage to one's life. It's common for a video game addict to spend over 10 hours a day gaming, usually well into the night, and many suffer from sleep deprivation 2.

Why is video game so addictive? ›

The reward center in the brain releases dopamine in response to a pleasurable experience or hyperarousal. If a person experiences hyperarousal while playing video games, the brain associates the activity with dopamine. The person develops a strong drive to seek out that same pleasure again and again.

Can video game addiction be cured? ›

No overall cure for video game addiction exists. As with alcoholism and drug addiction, the key is to enter treatment and to stay aware of triggers while continuing to participate in recovery groups, such as Online Gamers Anonymous.

How video games affect the brain? ›

Previous research showed that just 10–20 minutes of violent gaming increased activity in the brain regions associated with arousal, anxiety, and emotional reaction, while simultaneously reducing activity in the frontal lobes associated with emotion regulation and executive control.

How many hours of gaming is healthy? ›

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours per day of screen-based entertainment. Parents should create a “media plan” that dictates what hours a child can enjoy video games without affecting behavior and homework, Radesky says.

What can too much gaming cause? ›

Gaming has also been associated with sleep deprivation, insomnia and circadian rhythm disorders, depression, aggression, and anxiety, though more studies are needed to establish the validity and the strength of these connections.

How long does it take to detox from video games? ›

Research shows it will take up to 90 days for our brain chemistry to rewire back to normal dopamine sensitivity levels. And during this 90 days we may experience any of the following: Compulsions, cravings and/or urges to game. Withdrawals, mood swings and/or irritability.

How long should a 15 year old play video games per day? ›

Put clear limits on your child's gaming.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests time allotted should be under 30 to 60 minutes per day on school days and 2 hours or less on non- school days.

Is gaming addiction a mental disorder? ›

You hear it over and over again. If it seems your child's love of video games has taken over their life and you're genuinely worried about his/her well-being, it could be headed towards what the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially classified as a mental health disorder: gaming disorder.

How do video games affect mental health? ›

One of the biggest negative effects of video games can lead you to struggle with regulating your emotions properly. Studies show that people diagnosed with Internet gaming disorder are more likely to be aggressive, depressed, and anxious.

Does gaming cause depression? ›

A study in 2019 published in the National Library of Medicine found that gaming addiction positively correlated with depression, loneliness, and social anxiety especially in the young adult population.

Is playing games a waste of time? ›

But consider the trade-offs of these activities, including gaming: you're neglecting your friends, family, your mental and physical health, as well as your career. If that's the case for you, then gaming is a waste of time – just like any other activity with the same trade-offs would be to this extent.

Is gaming addiction a mental disorder? ›

You hear it over and over again. If it seems your child's love of video games has taken over their life and you're genuinely worried about his/her well-being, it could be headed towards what the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially classified as a mental health disorder: gaming disorder.

How many hours of video games is healthy for adults? ›

You might be interested to know that Oxford University believes that 1 hour of gaming every day is better than no gaming at all when we discuss personal well-being and mental health. Between hour 1 and 3, the experience doesn't necessarily improve mental health, but it's still engaging.

Do I play too much video games? ›

Signs That You're Addicted to Gaming

Here are some of the basic mental and social symptoms of gaming disorder: Thinking about gaming excessively. Getting upset when you can't play. Feeling like you need to game in order to feel better.

Videos

1. Game Over
(STORYHIVE)
2. Digital Addiction: Wade Plays Video Games 13 HOURS a Day | A&E
(A&E)
3. Inside America's First Video Game Addiction Rehab (HBO)
(VICE News)
4. How to save a loved one from game addiction | Matthias Dewilde | TEDxAntwerp
(TEDx Talks)
5. Video Game Addiction Explained
(Game Quitters)
6. How To Deal With Video Game Addiction
(Downward Thrust)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Moshe Kshlerin

Last Updated: 12/05/2022

Views: 5942

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Moshe Kshlerin

Birthday: 1994-01-25

Address: Suite 609 315 Lupita Unions, Ronnieburgh, MI 62697

Phone: +2424755286529

Job: District Education Designer

Hobby: Yoga, Gunsmithing, Singing, 3D printing, Nordic skating, Soapmaking, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Moshe Kshlerin, I am a gleaming, attractive, outstanding, pleasant, delightful, outstanding, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.