Playing video games is a fun way to relax and unwind for a lot of individuals, especially the generation-Xers and millennials who grew up playing these games. Video game addiction though is a phenomenon which has shown to occur as a result of different factors which may include the following:
- Video games are inherently addictive in nature because they are developed to be so. Developers produce games that aren’t so easy that they can be completed quickly and cause players to keep coming back for more, but also not so hard that they want to give up.
- The reward system in the brain is activated because when a goal or objective is set, the players want to complete that scenario in order to progress to the next level of the game. This is a repetitive and compulsive action that continues until the game is completed.
- Games developers also produce games that have no end to them and just keep on progressing without a final outcome. These are usually games that also require a small amount of money to be spent so that upgrades and new equipment can be purchased to further one’s progress.
Some other facts about video game addiction are that this condition can cause the following problems:
- Feelings of irritability and/or restlessness when affected individuals are unable to play.
- Lying to family members and friends about the time spent playing due to guilt feelings of doing so.
- Being preoccupied with the thought of playing the game or anticipation of when they are going to play again.
- Becoming isolated from others in order to spend more time playing games.
- Poor personal hygiene due to spending the most parts of the day and night playing games.
- Migraines as a result of eye strain or intense concentration on the screen.
- Fatigue due to lack of sleep
- Signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (compression of the median nerve that runs through the wrist) due to the overuse of a computer mouse or controller.
- Not eating properly can lead to issues such as obesity and possibly developing type 2 diabetes because the majority of food that is consumed includes readily available high-calorie, greasy, and refined snacks and sugary drinks.
- Lack of sleep can lead to issues such as a disruption of the circadian cycle which results in increased daytime sleepiness and this affects the person’s productivity at school or work.
- Those who isolate themselves socially will miss out on family events and important bonding time with family members and friends.
- Constant small amounts of money being spent on games can eventually amount to a lot of money being used which can even cause financial turmoil.
The good news is that like any other addiction, behavioral addictions like problematic video game use can be managed with a 12-step program such as Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous.