Is video game addiction a real thing? Scientists and researchers have categorized compulsive video gaming as an impulse control disorder, akin to gambling. It is a non substance addiction, or a process addiction. Gaming can cause serious emotional, mental, physical, and social problems, and should therefore be treated seriously when signs of unhealthy abuse are noticed.

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 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.

Causes of Video Game Addiction

There are many different factors that cause a video game addiction. Quite simply, video games are designed to be addictive, so that is a major factor. Such games are made challenging enough to keep you coming back, but not so challenging that you give up. Success feels like it could be just around the corner, making it very similar to gambling addiction.

Signs of Video Game Addiction

Like other addictions, there are warning signs with video game addiction as well. It is important to know how to recognize these signs, if you think you might be addicted to gaming, and not just an avid gamer. The signs can be emotional or physical.

Emotional Symptoms

  • Feelings of restlessness and/or irritability when unable to play.
  • Preoccupation with thoughts of previous online activity or anticipation of the next one.
  • Lying to friends or family about how long you spend playing.
  • Isolation from others in order to spend more time gaming.
  • Increased aggression.

Physical Symptoms

  • 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.

The fact is that if you think you have a video game addiction, then you probably do. Are you gaming more than 2 or 3 hours a day? If so, you likely have a problem. It is very easy to use video games as an escape from reality. However, if it is adversely affecting your health or your life and you are unable to make positive changes in your gaming behavior, then it may be time to seek professional intervention.

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