Video game addiction: symptoms, causes and treatment

Video game addiction has become one of the most worrying topics for many parents alarmed by the amount of time their children spend playing this form of leisure. While it is clear that the degree of addiction that can be generated with this type of entertainment is not comparable to what appears with drug use, it is true that the obsession with this activity can have serious consequences on the quality of life of young people.

In this article, we’ll go over the characteristics of video game addiction, which turn it from a habit into a trap that’s hard to escape, and the methods used to intervene in this problem and break with this vicious circle.

    What is video game addiction?

    All over the world, many young people have made video games one of their main hobbies, just as in other cases soccer or skating occupies a large part of their free time.

    In fact, what was once a hobby with bad press and was not well accepted socially, today has become so normal that there is everything a subculture that openly claims this kind of entertainment, And there are even tournaments and world championships focused on specific video games; this is called eSports).

    However, the fact that many people enjoy the daily use of this form of entertainment in a very positive way does not stop the video game addiction.

    Video game addiction is what happens when video game addiction becomes so intense that you spend at least four hours a day doing this activity, which means neglecting all kinds of obligations and responsibilities.


      The symptoms of video game addiction are as follows.

      1. Social isolation

      Video game addiction reinforces social isolation, which results in loss of contact with friends and family. In turn, social isolation can be one of the causes that leads to video game addiction, as video games can be both solitary entertainment with which to spend time gaining pleasure in return, and a way to interact indirectly with other people (In the case of online games).

      2. Deterioration in school performance

      Time spent playing means that no time and effort is invested in studying, which has an impact on school performance and delays learning skills and abilities fostered by education.

      3. One of the video game games as compensatory behavior

      The use of games can be a resource for channeling stress and anxiety arising from other day-to-day problems, such as living with an unstructured family or suffering from bullying at home or bullying at school.

        4. Loss of the notion of time

        Video game addiction causes you to lose control over time management, so the ability to know the hours that have passed during matches worsens and the fact that it delays other activities is lost sight of.

        5. Pain and postural illnesses

        Spending many straight hours playing video games in front of the TV or computer can result in develop bone, joint, or circulation problems, Especially on the back, thighs and hands.

        6. Outbursts of anger during game limitations

        When certain situations cause the game to end or slow down, it generates a level of frustration that can lead to outbursts of anger or even in physical assaults on other people, as well as in beatings to parts of property or objects.

        What makes us stick to the screen?

        Certainly, most video games are designed to be used for relatively long games or to offer the possibility of playing several games in a row with very little delay. For example, those who offer immersive experiences, Like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the game can last all afternoon, while in others, like Hotline Miami, each game lasts between several seconds to a few minutes, even if between one and the other. other it is necessary to wait less than a few seconds of loading.

        On another side, the mechanics of most video games focus on granting rewards to progress and take tests. For example, beating certain brands or defeating certain enemies gives us access to new areas to explore or to game modes that we had not unlocked. This, coupled with an ascending difficulty curve (it gets harder and harder to move forward, but at the same time we learn more and more about how to overcome the challenges of the game), it all revolves around the conditioning of functioning. .

        We can usually disconnect from this habit, but in other cases, the desire to receive more rewards leads us to want to play more and more of the options that these games offer us, without spending time thinking about other things.

        On the other hand, video game addiction, like many other forms of habit addiction, Leads us to sink into a dynamic which catches up with us and which, over time, worsens the chances of getting out of this trap. Indeed, as we internalize the importance of playing video games, the recurring thoughts related to this activity become more frequent, and everything makes us remember those games or imagine how far we might go if we were facing it. on the screen.

        Treatment of video game addiction

        Beyond professional psychological intervention, which is the recommended option when video game addiction is very intense, there are other measures that can help fight this tendency to abuse games in computer games or video game consoles. The main ones are as follows.

        1. Prevent the purchase of more games

        The fact not being able to access more games indefinitely makes the amount of rewards and new stimuli you choose to seem limited, so playing all the same at the same time is a tedious experience.

        2. Invite other hobbies

        Taking time out in other activities also helps break the cycle of play. presents other stimulating routines and thoughts.

        3. Limit time

        It is better to let play for a limited time to dry up the possibility of continuing to play, as the latter produces such hostility that the situation it is seen as a direct confrontation in which everything is worth it to break the norm.

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