With recent media coverage stating that gaming is officially an addiction, I decided to tackle the question of ‘can gaming become an addiction?’ and provide my thoughts.
Of course with most things we find enjoyable, gaming can definitely become an addiction. The real question is, can gaming become an addiction that one should be concerned about? The short answer is yes, but there are ways to spot the signs and symptoms of video game addiction so as to take initiative and get help before it becomes a major problem.
Signs and Symptoms of Video Game Addiction
- Feelings of restlessness and/or irritability when unable to play
- Preoccupation with thoughts of previous online activity or anticipation of the next online session
- Lying to friends or family members regarding the amount of time spent playing
- Isolation from others in order to spend more time gaming
- Migraines due to intense concentration or eye strain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by the overuse of a controller or computer mouse
- Poor personal hygiene1
If any of these signs become apparent, it is important to seek professional help before the emotional and physical signs manifest into long-term effects of video game addiction.
Games should be a thing of fun rather than a thing of necessity. With the release of Epic Games/People Can Fly’s battle royale game, Fortnite, many gamers became hooked and quite obsessed with this game. Take for example the story of the girl who was found sitting on a urine-soaked cushion by her father whilst playing Fortnite. The story suggests she was so deeply focused on playing Fortnite that she decided to urinate where she sat instead of leaving the game for a few minutes to relieve herself2.
Going to such lengths clearly indicates a major sign of video game addiction. However, at the same time, many gamers can probably relate to mother nature rearing it’s face as you’re on a winning streak. Most gamers in that situation will have either held on to their bladder movement for dear life or rushed to the loo as fast as they could. Either that or taken preventative measures and made sure their bladder had been appropriately emptied before sitting down for a gaming sesh.
Speaking of preventative measures, there are ways to try and stave off video game addiction. While these methods are not considered fail-safe, they’ve certainly worked for me.
Prevent Video Game Addiction
- Limit your gaming sessions to a period of time you will find personally appropriate
- Ensure you stay hydrated by keeping a bottle of water nearby if you’re the forgetful type
- Stay well-fed by setting cut-off points during the day where you stop gaming in order to eat meals
- Empty your bladder before committing yourself to a long gaming task
- Seek assistance from your friends or partner
- Take up another hobby you have a keen interest in so there’s always something else for you to busy yourself with
- Play quick indie-games that will leave you thinking
So the question of ‘can gaming become an addiction?’ is pretty straightforward with a definitive answer of yes. Addicted gamers have died in the past by going days without sleep, and the stereotypical gamer is considered a slob. But there are ways to stave off such stereotypes and make gaming a past-time that isn’t frowned upon. Make sure you don’t let yourself become completely swallowed by the incredibly fun hobby.
If you or someone you know has, or is being affected by video game addiction, get in touch with Reach Out here. At Reach Out you will be able to find different channels where you can talk to someone about your addiction.
Do you have any thoughts or comments about the question of ‘can gaming become an addiction?’ Write them down in the comments below, and if you feel you have some more tips to avoid video game addiction, jot them down too.