Who doesn’t love video games? You can be any character you want, play with other people all over the world, enjoy the upgrades and customize gears, and most especially, the feeling of being able to accomplish a task or quest is something exhilarating. For many people, this is as good as it gets but what if you have played too many video games and you can no longer distinguish reality from fiction? Video game addiction is a serious issue and this article will tell you why.


An Addiction in the Making


Anyone who could afford a gaming console back in the day can tell you that they had an awesome childhood playing their favorite one. Although playing video games has been around for almost 50 years, research and studies about its harmful effects are still in the early stages. However, the World Health Organization added “Gaming Disorder” as one of it’s diseases to their list of medical reference books in The International Classification of Diseases back in 2018.


Not everyone shows the signs and symptoms of being a video game addict but according to experts, there are about 12% of people who dedicate hours and hours of their lives playing. However, defining the true meaning of video game addiction or disorder is still a challenge to many experts in the mental health field. Although the American Psychiatric Association listed “internet gaming disorder”, or IGD in the DSM-V, it is still a big possibility that there could be newer diagnoses in the future. 


The Signs to Watch Out For


According to the DSM-V, there are certain signs to look out for if you or someone you know is addicted to video games. You must have at least five or more of these signs within a year in order to be diagnosed with a gaming addiction disorder. According to DSM-V, these are the signs to take note of:


  • You are preoccupied with gaming and think about gaming most of the time.

  • You feel bad or irritable when you can’t play your video games. 

  • You need to spend more time playing in order to feel good. 

  • You cannot quit or play less.

  • You don’t want to do other things or have lost interest in other things that you once liked. 

  • You begin to lose interest in work, school, or home life because you are playing too many video games. 

  • You still play despite knowing the consequences and problems of too much playtime. 

  • You constantly lie to people close to you about how much time you spend playing games. 

  • You use video games as a means to escape a bad mood and other feelings. 


Of course, you cannot label anyone who is simply enthusiastic about their video games as an addict. However, experts agree that the percentage of players who have met the criteria of video game addiction is still small. This is also the reason why they cannot conclude that addiction to video games as something alarming.


How to Prevent Video Game Addiction


If you know someone who is addicted to video games, may it be a loved one, or maybe yourself, you can always use these tips to prevent video game addiction from getting any worse. Here’s how:


  1. Setting Limits


If you spend too much time playing video games, you will have a problem in the future if this habit continues. What you can do is to set limits with your time on video games. It may be difficult to adjust to it but if you have to make a choice, you best stick to it. Decide on the number of hours you can spend playing video games. From there, work your way up until you spend lesser time and doing more activities than just playing video games. You can even set a day without playing video games so you can “detox” yourself from technology. 


  1. Have alternative activities


Engaging yourself in other activities like reading, drawing and other productive activities can lessen your screen time. Taking the time out and doing something that is creative or mentally stimulating can help. You can even do some yard work or chores around the house or simply spending time with your family is enough to get you off video games for a little while. 


  1. Spend some time outdoors


One of the best ways to stay off video games is by doing outdoor activities. You can go camping, hiking, mountain climbing, rock climbing, and other exciting things in real life rather than spending time playing. You can also enjoy other things with people outside your home too like playing outdoor sports with friends or family can also help. Spending too much time playing your video games can make you dull, so make it a habit to spend more time outside and less indoors. 


Getting the Needed Help


This addiction may not be officially in the list of health experts yet and studying about them is still at an early stage, there are some people who are already experiencing a strong sense of attachment to it. Children, in particular, are now exhibiting an “intense need” to play and so it is important to correct this condition immediately. One of the best ways to do it is getting help from therapists or doctors – talk to a pediatrician if your child is involved in this situation. This can be helpful if the gaming feels like it is out of your control. 


Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also helpful in teaching you how to replace thoughts about gaming and change your behavior towards this. This is especially helpful for parents who have children who suffer from video game addiction. 


In Closing


If you feel like you are developing an addiction to playing video games, get help. It may seem like a harmless thing to think about and you might even justify your thoughts about but if you spend more time playing than being productive, you need to change your priorities. The same goes if you know someone who is addicted or is developing an addiction to it. Help is just a phone call away and there are always ways to correct these things if you know who to approach for these things. Don’t ignore the signs, talk to your doctor – you will be happy you did!


Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.