Video games are becoming increasingly popular, especially among children and adolescents. It’s been at least 40 years since the first home video games became available and widespread in the 1980s. Today, with modern advances in technology and computer graphics: video games have become extremely realistic and immersive. Modern computer graphics and computing power have allowed video game developers now to create interactive digital worlds that their users are spending hundreds of hours in. Video game developers are also striving to design every character and object in these three-dimensional worlds to be life-like: having just as much finite detail as a person or object would have in real-life!
Although many people consider video games simply as past-time activities or in many cases: A fun and interactive way to digitally interact with friendly users from all over the world. In recent years, many members of the psychiatric community are starting to recognize addictions to video games along with other technology addictions as well. In fact, in 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified gaming addiction as “gaming disorder,” adding gaming disorder to its list of official diseases, addictions, and disorders.
Similar to drug, alcohol, and gambling addictions: videogame addictions can have life-altering consequences.
The Effects of Video Games on the Brain
The average gamer in the United States reports spending almost 15 hours per week gaming. The most avid gamers claim they spend more than 8 hours a day! This begs the question: what effect do these video games have on the human brain? Surely, spending that much time in a virtual world must have some kind of effect on the user’s brain. A growing body of scientific evidence has begun to shed light on this question
Various studies around the world have been conducted using MRI scans of the brains of individuals with gaming disorders and compared them to the brains of individuals without gaming disorders. One such neurological study on internet gaming addiction published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that many video game addicts had “abnormal grey matter concentrations” in certain areas of the brain which were responsible for attention, focus, and behavioral inhibition. People who may have developed a gaming disorder or gaming addiction as a child or teenager are also more likely to have developed Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder (ADHD), and are still be living with the condition as an adult.
Many experts in the field of addictions and mental health are now recognizing video game addiction as a real problem. With more research being conducted on the matter, we will likely continue to learn more about how addictions to video games can have serious consequences for those who develop them. If you or someone you know may be struggling with an addiction to video games you can take a free and confidential video game addiction test developed by Dr. Kardaras at Omega Recovery in Austin, Texas. Dr. Kardaras and his team of specialists have been treating video game addiction along with other technology addictions at Omega Recovery.
The Impact Video Game Addiction May Have
Just like with any substance addiction or alcohol addiction, video game addiction has the potential to severely disrupt someone’s life. As the national number of hours spent playing video games increases, so does the risk of more people developing gaming addiction. Addictions to video games can result in social isolation, problems at work or school, and lead to conflict in relationships.
A person who is addicted to video games may:
- Spend more time playing video games than they do working or going to school
- Neglect their family and friends to play video games
- Have trouble meeting their obligations at work or school because of their gaming habit
- Lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy
- Neglect their health or personal hygiene.
It is important to note that currently, in modern-day households most homes (especially households with children or teens) have either a home gaming or entertainment systems like Playstation or Xbox. Therefore, some level of video gaming is considered “normal.” And many children and teens who play video games do not develop addictions to them. However, as with anything; moderation is key. When video gaming starts to take over someone’s life and they are unable to stick to self-imposed limits on their gaming, that’s when it may be time to consider whether or not they have developed a gaming addiction.
People with addictions to video games often report experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when they attempt to cut back on their gaming or stop playing altogether. These symptoms can include but are not limited to:
Video game addiction treatment is becoming an increasingly important tool for helping people who are struggling to control their gaming habits. If you or someone you love is dealing with an addiction to video games, there is help available.
Treatments For Video Game Addictions (and Where to Get Help)
There are several different treatment options available for people with addictions to video games. Treatment for video game addiction can be both inpatient and outpatient, depending on the severity of the addiction.
Some common treatments for video game addiction include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This type of therapy can help people with addictions to video games learn how to control their gaming behaviors and develop healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with stress.
- Family therapy: Family therapy can help to repair relationships that may have been damaged by video game addiction and provide support for family members who are struggling to deal with a loved one’s addiction.
- Group therapy: Group therapy provides people with addictions to video games with support from others who are struggling with similar issues. This can be an important part of recovery, as it can help people realize they are not alone in their struggle.
Omega Recovery is one of the leading treatment centers in Texas for addictions to video games and other forms of technology addictions. Omega Recovery is licensed by the NIDHW (National Institute for Digital Health) to treat various forms of Technology Addiction; offering both inpatient and outpatient treatment options. Omega Recovery also offers a variety of other treatment options for addictions to video games, to help people recover from their addictions. If you or someone you love is struggling with a video game addiction, please reach out to us today. We can help you get the treatment you need to recover and live a healthy, happy life.