What is Video Game Addiction or Online Gaming Addiction
Playing games on a computer, video game console, or hand held device is a very common thing these days, most of the youngsters invariably spend at least sometime daily on these games. Most of them are able to meet the multiple demands of school, sports, work or chores, and family life. Gaming becomes an addiction when it starts to interfere with a person’s relationships, studies, work or their pursuit of other goals. Young people, who often feel powerless in their daily lives, suddenly they have the ability to command armies, drive (and crash) cars, and wreak havoc on a virtual world with no real-life consequences. This is seductive and forces them to indulge in it again and again, losing the track of time, commitment and responsibilities. A shy child can suddenly became social; a passive child can become aggressive. Computer and video games offer a way to interact with others in their “virtual world,” without the distress of face-to-face interactions. Many mental health professionals feel that video games are similar to gambling as an addictive process. Studies estimate that 10 percent to 15 percent of gamers exhibit signs that meet the World Health Organization’s criteria for addiction.
Symptoms of Video Game Addiction or Online Gaming Addiction
- Most non-school hours are spent on the computer or playing video games
- Falling asleep in school
- Falling behind with assignments
- Worsening grades
- Lying about computer or video game use
- Choosing to use the computer or play video games, rather than see friends
- Dropping out of other social groups (clubs or sports)
- Being irritable when not playing a video game or being on the computer
Adverse Effects of Video Game Addiction on Health
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when the main nerve between the forearm and hand is squeezed or pressed. This occurs when the carpal tunnel – the area of the wrist that houses the main nerve and tendons – becomes irritated or swollen. Overuse of a computer mouse can cause such irritation and swelling, as can excessive use of a video game controller.
- Sleep Disturbances. Sleep disturbances are caused, in part, by over-stimulation of the brain. Several sleep-related disorders, including insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, nocturnal myoclonus (periodic leg or arms jerks during sleep), and parasomnia (i.e., night terrors, sleepwalking or talking, and nightmares) may occur to Video Gaming Addicts. However, some people can’t get a good night’s sleep simply because they think obsessively about the game they’re playing.
- Backaches Or Neck Aches. Backaches an Neck Pains are a common physical symptom of gaming addiction because most gamers stay seated in the same position for hours and hours.
- Headaches. Migraine headaches typically start in one spot and slowly spread, getting more painful as they progress. In severe cases, the pain can be so extreme that it causes the sufferer to vomit.
- Dry Eyes. Dry eye is a condition in which a person doesn’t have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Other associated symptoms include irritation, redness, discharge, and easily fatigued eyes. Blurred vision may also occur.
- Poor Diet and Personal Hygiene. Most addicted gamers don’t want to take the time to eat properly, rather than eating healthy, balanced meals, they eat food that is quick and usually unhealthy. Showers, face-washing, and brushing hair and teeth all get put on the back burner.
Video Game Addiction Treatment
A Certified Addictions Counselor trained in identification and treatment video-game addiction can effectively perform an assessment to determine what level of care is most appropriate. The challenge is to show gamers they are powerless over their addiction, and then teach them “real-life excitement as opposed to online excitement.”