Video game addiction is a serious problem. While most people can have fun playing video games without them hurting other parts of their lives, some people become obsessed. This can have a variety of consequences, ranging from weight gain from being too sedentary to, in extreme cases, death. South Korea has had to impose a curfew on children’s and teen’s online gaming. Estimates of gaming addiction among Korean children range from 10 to 50 percent. In most countries, the problem is not so common, but some people’s lives suffer from video game addiction. Here are some signs that video games have become a problem.
You think about video games while doing other things. It may be normal if you’re bored at school or work to think, ‘I would rather be playing Grand Theft Auto right now’, but you’re having lunch with friends or working on a project and all you can think is how you can’t wait to steal a car and run over a prostitute, you may have a problem. One classic sign of addiction is that that you constantly think about your next opportunity to use, whether that means getting to the pub or picking up a controller.
You play to avoid problems. Video games are supposed to be about having fun. If you find you are playing not to have fun but to avoid thinking about some problem in your life, it’s a sign video games are no longer purely for entertainment. They have become a coping mechanism. Video games are especially powerful for this purpose because they allow you to be someone you can’t be in real life. You can inhabit a world where you are the hero, doing heroic things. Whereas movies and television allow you to passively become part of another world, video games allow you to interact in another world. For people who are not happy with their lives, the escape can be irresistable. Unfortunately, avoiding your problems only makes them worse. If you are unhappy because you have no friends, spending all your time playing video games is not likely to improve matters.
You play more and more. Another classic sign of addiction is escalation. You start out playing for an hour after school or work to help you relax, and the next thing you know, you’re playing until bedtime, or staying up late to keep playing. Playing video games pushes out more important activities, like work, school, and family. If you find yourself skipping school or cancelling plans with friends to play games–and maybe lying about it, too–you may have a problem.
You try to quit but can’t. This is basically the definition of addiction. You may say to yourself, ‘Ok, tomorrow, no video games’, then tomorrow comes and you play anyway. Or maybe you manage to quit for a day or two and it makes you anxious and irritable. Those are withdrawal symptoms that suggest addiction.
Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in County Louth, near Dublin was founded in 1988 as a residential rehabilitation hospital treating people suffering from drug and alcohol purposes. Smarmore Castle believes in helping patients lead a life of abstinence through 12 Step programmes, detox and medical treatment, psychotherapy, and complementary therapies. For more information, please call 041-214-5111. For those who live out of the country, the international number is 00353-41-214-5111.