Video game addiction is widely misunderstood as just a safe hobby. However, video game addiction was accepted into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013 as long as gaming leads to “significant impairment or distress.” If video gaming has taken over your thoughts and behavior, it is essential to seek video game treatment at a luxury mental health facility.

Video Games as Addictive as Drugs

Not only has the DSM-5 accepted video game addiction, but the World Health Organization (WHO) believes video game addiction is real if it impairs certain areas of functioning. Just like with drugs or alcohol, video games can have a negative impact on your mind and behaviors. The same pleasurable chemical in the brain, dopamine, gets activated from playing video games just as it does from drugs and alcohol. In order to experience that feeling, you may continue to play video games more and more. With 10% of people in the world experiencing a video game addiction, this is not always a problem that can be ignored or scoffed off as just a hobby.

Causes of Video Game Addiction

With the advancement of technology today, video games look so real that you picture yourself in that world. The sights and sounds are enough to draw you in. Due to how interactive video games are, you may feel a responsibility to accomplish the tasks that the game wants you to do without any pauses. They can give you a sense of importance that you feel you cannot walk away from. 

Video games can also be addicting because of the reward system in the brain. In order to get a boost in dopamine, you continue to play, advancing level after level. If you earn coins on a game, you can use what you have earned toward tools to advance yourself in the game. Games could have thousands of levels, making it feel never-ending. There are also games like Fortnite where it is very easy to lose a level, making you want to continue going back to that level to play the game. 

Is Video Game Addiction the Same as Drug Addiction?
Is Video Game Addiction the Same as Drug Addiction?

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Symptoms of Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction is like any addiction where your main focus in life is to play video games. It does not matter if your studies, work, or loved ones are neglected. If you are struggling with a video game addiction, you will have an intense craving to keep playing and feel you cannot stop. When you are playing the game, you feel a sense of euphoria that you have not felt before. When you do stop playing, you feel negative emotions like sadness, anger, or feeling empty. It feels like the world is not right unless you are playing. 

Physical Consequences

One of the physical consequences can be carpal tunnel syndrome when the primary nerve between the forearm and hand is pressed or squeezed. This can happen when your arms and hands are in the same position for long periods of time, moving a computer mouse or a game controller. Another consequence is headaches because of the intense concentration you need when you play and the strain on your eyes. Video game addiction can also take a toll on your sleep as you force yourself to stay awake to continue playing. Even if you are not playing, thoughts about the game still keep you awake. Before you know it, your eating habits and hygiene may also take a back seat.

Mental Health Consequences

Video game addiction can lead to high levels of anxiety. You feel you need to get back to the game in fear you could lose your progress, or you feel like you are one step closer to winning. Video game addiction can also make you feel very lonely as you play games on your own. Socializing with your friends and family is no longer important as video games are your primary source of fun. Your attention span and memory can take a toll, and you may also experience increased aggression. 

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Low Self-Esteem

If you have trouble making friends, this can lure you into the gaming world. Video games can be social if you meet people within the game you can join teams with. However, this will stop you from interacting with real people. Video games can also hurt your self-esteem if you continue to lose levels. You may think you are not strong enough the more you lose. No matter how good you are playing a video game, it will not help you feel better about yourself. Luckily, therapy can teach you all about how to see your strengths without a controller in your hand.

Treatment for Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction is as serious as any other addiction and deserves proper treatment. With cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to change your negative thought patterns combined with other therapeutic modalities, you can come out on the other side of a video game addiction. A personalized treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms will make a difference in learning to adopt healthy behaviors into your life. By the end of a treatment stay, you will be able to see video gaming as just a game instead of allowing it to take over your life.

Video game addiction is when your health, social life, and mental health are negatively impacted by your gaming habits. You may be struggling with a video game addiction if you feel you cannot go a day without playing a video game. You may neglect your hygiene, loved ones, studies, work, and everything else that used to mean something to you. Video game addiction needs to be taken as seriously as any other addiction. Once you see that video games have destroyed anything that has mattered to you, it is time to seek help. Hawaii Island Recovery is one of the leading treatment centers in Hawaii dedicated to helping you recover. We use evidence-based treatment methods to help you heal. Our transformative treatment center in Kailua, Hawaii, can provide you with individual and group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and more. Call Hawaii Island Recovery today at (866) 390-5070 to learn more.