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GAMING ADDICTION

Are There Different Types of Video Game Addictions?


There are two major types of video games and therefore two major types of video game addictions. Standard video games are
generally designed to be played by a single player and involve a clear goal or mission, such as rescuing a princess. The addiction
in these games is often related to completing that mission or beating a high score or preset standard.
The other type of video game addiction is associated with online multiplayer games. These games are played online with other
people and are especially addictive because they generally have no ending. Gamers with this type of addiction enjoy creating and
temporarily becoming an online character. They often build relationships with other online players as an escape from reality.
For some, this community may be the place where they feel theyre the most accepted.

What Causes an Addiction to Video Games?


Many different causes factor into video game addiction. One of the main reasons that video games can become so addictive,
however, is they are designed to be that way. Video game designers, like anyone else trying to make a profit, are always looking
for ways to get more people playing their games. They accomplish this by making a game just challenging enough to keep you
coming back for more but not so hard that the player eventually gives up. In other words, success for a gamer often feels just
out of reach. In this respect, video game addiction is very similar to another more widely recognized disorder: gambling
addiction.

What Are the Signs of Video Game Addiction Problem?


As with any other addiction, video game addiction has warning signs. It is important to know how to recognize these signs if you
or someone you care about is an avid gamer. According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, these symptoms can be
both emotional and physical.

Emotional Symptoms of Video Game Addiction


Some of the emotional signs or symptoms of video game addiction include:

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

Physical Symptoms of Video Game Addiction


Some of the physical signs or symptoms of video game addiction include:

Fatigue
Migraines due to intense concentration or eye strain
Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by the overuse of a controller or computer mouse
Poor personal hygiene

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Video Game Addiction


Like any other compulsive disorder, video game addiction can have severe negative consequences. Though most of the symptoms
listed above have short-term effects, they can lead to more severe long-term repercussions if not addressed properly. For
example, someone addicted to video games will often avoid sleeping or eating proper meals in order to continue gaming. While
the short-term effects of this may include hunger and fatigue, it could eventually lead to a sleep disorder or diet-related
health issues. Similarly, those who isolate themselves from others in order to play video games may miss out on family events,
outings with friends, or other events in the short-term. If this continues to be a pattern for a long period of time, however,
addicts might find themselves without any friends at all.
Other long-term effects of video game addiction to consider are the financial, academic and occupational consequences
involved. Video games and video game equipment can be very expensive, especially when factoring in recurring costs such as the
high-speed Internet connection required for online multiplayer games. These games can also be very time-consuming, leaving
addicted gamers with less time to focus on their education or career.

Is There a Test or Self-Assessment I Can Do?


The most effective self-assessment that can be done is to examine the above list of symptoms associated with video game
addiction. If you find that you or someone you care about exhibits any of these warnings signs, it may be a good time to cut
back on the amount of time spent gaming.

Drugs: Possible Options


According to addictionblog.org, bupropion is one medication that has been used recently to treat this type of disorder. The
drug works in a way that changes the brains chemistry and helps to decrease cravings for video game play. Though it has proven
to be fairly effective, this option may not be for everyone. Others may choose to medicate only when absolutely necessary,
treating the symptoms as they occur. For example, a gamer suffering from migraines may take medication for headaches.
Likewise, an addict suffering from sleeplessness may turn to sleeping pills.

Medication Side Effects


When you take any form of medication, especially when self-medicating, it is very important to read all directions and follow
dosage instructions carefully. Even over-the-counter medications can result in dependency and therefore should not be taken
for long periods of time unless it is recommended by a medical professional.
Bupropion, though often helpful, is not for everyone. Some possible side effects include:

Drowsiness
Dry mouth
Excessive sweating
Itching
Fever

Antidepressant Drug Addiction, Dependence and


Withdrawal in Online Addicts
Due to the evident link between video game or Internet addiction and depression, it is not surprising that many addicted
gamers take antidepressant medication to help with the symptoms. Though most healthcare professionals consider this type of
medication to be safe and effective, it also comes with its own set of risks and side effects. One factor to consider before
beginning antidepressant medication is that it may be difficult to stop taking it. It is common to experience withdrawal
symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, nausea and dizziness. In more serious cases, it is possible to experience depression as
a symptom of withdrawal from the medication. This depression can be even more severe than the original depression, leading
the patient to believe that the illness has returned.

Medication Overdose
According to the National Safely Council, unintentional overdose is responsible for more deaths among Americans between the
ages of 35 and 54 years old than motor vehicle crashes. When taking any medication for addiction or any other problem, it is
important to take only the amount prescribed. If you suspect possible overdose, it is important to act quickly. Options for
immediate response include dialing 911 or contacting the National Poison Control Center.

Depression and Video Game Addiction


Two recent studies concerning the ties between video game addiction and depression showed an alarming correlation between
the two. If you suffer from both conditions, its important to seek help at a treatment facility that can address both issues. If
you attempt to treat the video game addiction without treating the underlying depression, the addiction is more likely to recur.

Dual Diagnosis: Video Game Addiction and Substance


Abuse
Because video game addiction has been linked to depression, sleeplessness and an overall lack of
concern for ones own health, it is not surprising that substance abuse is also a problem for many
gamers suffering from this compulsive disorder. For those suffering from video game addiction as
well as substance abuse, proper treatment is imperative to recovery.

Compulsive video gaming can have negative effects on a developing mind or body. Adult players, too, may
suffer from the effects of hours spent sitting on the couch or at a computer desk. Listed below are a few of the
key concerns for younger players:

Sedentary lifestyle: Hours spent sitting at a computer or in front of a device can take a toll on a young
persons body. The lack of physical exercise involved in video gaming has led to public health concerns
about weight gain, poor posture, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in Americas children and teens.

Lack of social engagement: Although video games require engaging with others in computerized
environments, they dont necessarily prepare children for the realities of socializing with their peers.
Learning how to interact with others in a real-world setting is an important social skill that may be
neglected by individuals who spend too much time gaming.

Problems with concentration and attention: There is some concern that the rapid movements and
fast-paced action of video games promote a loss of concentration in players. Children who spend a lot of
time playing video games may become less interested in reading books, for example, which requires more
focused, prolonged attention.

Avoidance of developmental tasks: Adolescence is a time of self-discovery and personal development. In


order to become mature adults who can take on the challenges of life, teenagers must learn how to
confront painful emotions and awkward social experiences. When used appropriately, fantasy roleplaying
video games can help children learn and apply valuable character traits that may help them in their
interactions with others. But when video gaming is used as an escape mechanism, it allows children to avoid
the developmental challenges of growing up.

Increased aggression or violence: Children and teens who devote a lot of time to playing video games
that focus on combat, fighting, or violence may display more signs of aggression than those who dont
play these games. Parents must be aware of the content of video games, which are subject to a rating
system similar to the one applied to films. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) posts guidelines
and ratings for popular games based on the age of the player, as well as educational resources for parents
and parental game controls.

Seizures and repetitive stress injuries: The British Medical Journal(BMJ) published an article about the
risks of video gaming for players who have epilepsy or other seizure disorders. The flickering graphics,
lights, and colors of video game displays may trigger seizure activity in some players. There is also evidence
that compulsive game playing may lead to repetitive stress injuries of the wrists or hands.

Finding Help
Compared to other addictive disorders, video game addiction may not seem very serious; however, the
parents, partners, and children of people addicted to video games can testify to the negative effects of this
behavior.
Like other potentially positive activities, video games have their place in a healthy, well-rounded life, but when
gaming begins to take precedence over school, work, or relationships, the individual needs professional help.
While American Addiction Centers does not treat video game addictions, treatment programs are now
available all over the country that address this new disorder and offer hope to people seeking freedom from
compulsive gaming.