As we know, addiction can take on many forms. Addiction is essentially the nature of the relationship we have with a drug or behavior; we can have addictive relationships with just about anything. Gaming addiction was recently determined by the World Health Organization to be an actual disease. Gaming addiction functions like any other addiction in that it can become an obsessive, compulsive and self-destructive behavior that people struggle to maintain and control. Just like other addicts, they may try to hide their addiction out of embarrassment and shame, and similarly, they often know how toxic it is for them but struggle to quit. It goes beyond the harmless fun of enjoying playing video games as a hobby and crosses into dangerous territory where the gamer’s life has been dramatically disturbed by gaming. With addictions and mental health conditions, our lives become unmanageable and unbearable, and eventually we know we have a life-changing decision to make- seek recovery or continue to self-destruct. Gaming is no different.
Gamers often find themselves so consumed with the challenges of the games that they forego the regular social activities they once enjoyed. They isolate themselves and don’t keep in touch with friends and family. This self-imposed isolation can contribute to feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness. Like many struggling with addiction, gamers will stop taking care of their responsibilities, such as going to work and paying bills.
As they become more consumed with their games, their attention to self-care decreases. Their health might decline, as they are often not eating well or paying attention to nutrition. In addition, sitting for hours on end puts considerable strain on their backs, legs and feet, and impedes circulation, causing all kinds of health problems. Gamers often forego sleep and therefore add exhaustion to the list of detrimental health effects they’re incurring while gaming.
Gamers’ minds become overstimulated by the constant lights, sounds and images of the video games, which can cause various health problems including anxiety, hypertension and insomnia. In addition, with long hours of gaming and little or no sleep, their minds don’t get the proper rest and rejuvenation they need to function healthily. The subject matter of games is often violent and aggressive, which can cause some gamers to be increasingly agitated, restless, anxious, angry and even hostile with the people around them.
Video games can become the distraction that fills an emotional void for people that they may not have even realized was there. Instead of facing our traumas and fears head on, as addicts we tend to bury them underneath toxic and self-destructive behaviors. As we get deeper into our addictions, our shame and embarrassment grow, and when we feel bad about ourselves, we are inclined to use- contributing to the cyclical nature of addiction.
If you’re struggling with any form of addictive behavior, reach out to Enlightened Solutions for support. Call (833) 801-LIVE.