Video Game Addiction Symptoms, Causes, and Effects


For many people, video game addiction is defined as obsessive or uncontrollable usage of video games that causes issues in other aspects of a person’s life. According to recent research conducted by the University of New Mexico, 6 to 15% of all gamers show symptoms that might be classified as an addiction. Though this illness can have serious repercussions for people who suffer from it, recognizing its signs and symptoms can be difficult at times.

As players strove to win over and again, video games had the potential to gobble up a lot of time. Today, video game addiction is regarded as a form of compulsive gambling in which the thrill of winning becomes one of the key motives for playing.

In the 2018 edition of the medical reference book, International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization introduced “gaming disorder.” The DSM-5 manual of the American Psychiatric Association, on the other hand, did not. (At this time, gambling is the only “activity” that has been identified as a potential addiction.)

When Gaming Becomes an Addiction

Many individuals, including parents, feel that video games help youngsters develop their imaginations, collaborate, and strengthen their cognitive skills. However, the advantages of gaming appear to be less definite when young people spend the majority of their time playing video games instead of academics, physical activity, family gatherings, or other activities.

There is some debate about whether video gaming is akin to gambling, drug misuse, or alcoholism as an addiction.

What Causes an Addiction to Video Games?

Addiction to video games can be caused by a variety of factors. However, one of the primary reasons video games may become so addictive is that they are meant to be so. Like anybody else seeking to earn a profit, video game creators are continuously looking for new methods to entice more people to play their games. They achieve this by creating a game that is just difficult enough to keep you going back for more but not so difficult that the player gives up. To put it another way, a gamer’s success often feels just out of grasp. In this regard, video game addiction is extremely similar to another well-known disorder: Addiction to gambling

Giving a youngster the most recent video game serves two purposes. For one thing, it may help parents feel better about not spending enough time with their children. Two, it may keep the toddler busy for a long time. Both of these factors can contribute to long lengths of time spent playing video games.

What Are the Signs of Video Game Addiction?

The DSM-5, the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, does not contain video game addiction. This is the guidebook used to diagnose mental health and addiction illnesses.

However, Internet gaming disorder is included in the DSM-5’s section on illnesses that need further research. In order to be diagnosed with Internet gaming disorder, you must have experienced at least five of the following symptoms in the previous year.

Video game addiction, like any other addiction, includes warning indicators. If you or someone you care about is a big gamer, it’s crucial to know how to spot these warning signals. These symptoms can be both emotional and physical, according to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery.

  • Poor performance at school, work, or household responsibilities as a result of a preoccupation with gaming
  • All or most of the time, you’re thinking about gaming.
  • When you can’t play, you feel horrible and need to spend more and more time playing to feel good.
  • Not being able to stop playing or even wanting to do other activities you used to like
  • Are you having issues at work, school, or at home as a result of your gaming?
  • Despite these issues, I’m still playing.
  • Lie to your friends and family about how much time you spend playing
  • Using video games to alleviate negative emotions and sensations
  • Jeopardized or lost a relationship, job, or other opportunity because of gaming

In their advertising, some gaming companies openly brag about how “addictive” their games are. Recognizing the possibility of video game addiction or overuse gives a basis for establishing advisory standards for appropriate limits.

Gaming isn’t an issue for everyone who plays a lot. Some specialists believe that labeling those who are merely interested in gaming is damaging. They all agree that the percentage of gamers who fit the specified criteria for video game addiction is modest. It’s estimated that between 1% and 9% of all gamers, both adults and children, are affected.

Dangers of the “Video Game Addiction”

Without set and agreed-upon rules, labeling the behavior as a video game addiction might unfairly dissuade many children and their parents from the potentially good components of some video games.

Certain video games as a medium have the potential to build excellent social skills or to give harmless kinds of amusement, albeit they may be more difficult to sell to children.

As with other addictions, there’s a risk that a name like “video game addiction” may be used too broadly without regard for other underlying or contemporaneous problems. Treating these issues might assist the excessive gaming player more successfully.

Getting Help

Seek advice from your doctor or therapist – or your child’s physician if the person you’re concerned about is your youngster – as soon as you suspect that gaming time is becoming excessive.
If you are the parent of a gamer, a therapist can teach you how to limit your child’s gaming time if you have difficulty saying no. One study discovered that including parents in a child’s treatment improves its effectiveness.

It is not always simple to recover, but it is possible. Addiction to video games may be just as harmful as any other addiction and should be handled as such. Recognizing the presence of dependence is the first step in overcoming it.