How to Overcome Video Game Addiction
What Is Video Game Addiction?
A video game addiction is simply an addiction to playing video games. Unfortunately, this addiction is spreading at an extremely fast pace. While it may not effect the body directly as alcohol or cigarettes would, it can still devastate lives when people take their gaming habits too far.
Truth be told, I was once addicted to video games. I let it ruin many aspects of my life. I still play them, but I learned how to enjoy in moderation.
How to Overcome Video Game Addiction
This article will cover the following:
The tragedy of Shawn Woolley
How many hours per week do you play video games?
First, you have to identify if you or someone you know is addicted to video games. Here are a few signs to look out for:
- Spends a lot of free time playing video games: It may have just started to be a one hour a day thing, but then you notice the person spending every free moment playing or doing something game-related.
- Neglects school or work: This one should be obvious. If the person calls in sick or stays home from school to play a game, then there is a problem. Having a vacation day from work isn't a bad thing, but skipping either work or school can be a bad thing if it's for a video game. I know, I skipped college for video games.
- Ignores family: Choosing a game over family is always bad, and a sure sign of addiction. If kids are neglected, or a spouse feels alone, then there is a problem. Video games are never more important than family.
- Lets their personal appearance go: Since the person is always playing, personal hygiene won't seem as important. The more someone lets themselves go, the bigger the problem is.
- Health issues start to come up: If the person stays awake all night playing video games, has mood swings, etc., that could be a sign of video game addiction. A person can even die if they focus on playing video games without a break.
- Spends money on video games prior to the necessities: Obviously, games are the priority for this person when it should the things they need to survive. If the rent goes unpaid just so the person can buy the latest games, then there is a problem with addiction.
Effects of Video Game Addiction
Feels neglected and ignored. Feels like video games are more of a priority.
Feels ignored, friends eventually will go away after awhile.
Work performance suffers, could eventually lose job.
Weight gain, seizures, fatigue, etc.
Anger issues, depression, withdrawal.
Loss of income could result in not being able to buy food, losing house, etc.
Do you think that you may be addicted to video games?view quiz statistics
Overcoming an addiction to video games, like all other addictions, can be a difficult process. However, in time someone can learn to enjoy them without being addicted to them. The following tips can be used to curb their addiction.
- Don't stop cold turkey: Video games, unlike other addictions, takes up a lot of time. Stopping altogether may leave a huge void in your life and cause you to relapse. The goal is to curtail how much time you spend playing.
- Play in moderation: Set a specific number of hours (or minutes) to play per day. Set a countdown on your phone. Once that timer goes off, stop playing.
- Eliminate how many systems you own: Between console, handheld, and other gaming systems, there just isn't enough time in the day to play them all. People try. Instead, only have one system you play games on. This will allow you to stay focused, without feeling the need to play games on each and every system.
- Avoid MMOs: If you have a severe addiction to games, MMO's are the worst games you can play. MMO's are huge time vortexes. People have been known to die while playing an MMO, as they play them for days on end without a break.
- Take a break every hour: For each hour of play, stand up, walk around, etc. for a few minutes. It's unhealthy to sit in front of a screen for hours at a time without a break.
- Limit how much money you spend on video games: If you set aside $60 a month for games, then, for the most part, you are just buying one to two games per month. If you limit your spending, you limit your addiction.
- Choose games with physical activity: Games are becoming more movement-based. Some require you to stand and move your body. While they are still video games, they can encourage exercise.
- Include your family. There are a lot of games that families can play together. Not only will it allow you to continue playing, but it will include your family in your hobby. Just remember to teach your children moderation, and if you have to, limit their game time as well. This may also increase addiction, so it may not be the right way to go.
- Seek help: There could be an underlying issue that causes such an addiction. Seeking a mental health professional is not a bad thing and is nothing to be ashamed of. You can talk to your primary care physician about it as well.
- Determine if there are other issues at play: An addiction to video games may be caused by something else in your life. The step above, talking to a mental health professional, can help you identify and possibly address that.
- Find other hobbies: Start a collection of some sort, do some gardening, etc. Something else to keep your hands and mind busy. Some of these you can also include your friends and family.
- Reevaluate your life: Look at your life as it is now. What could be better? Maybe there is a job you didn't get due to your video game addiction. Maybe you missed a child's event at school. Take those wrongs and try to make them right.
Do you know someone that is addicted to video games?
The Tragedy of Shawn Woolley
In 2001, Shawn Woolley killed himself. The online game, Everquest, was running at the time of his death. It was his mother that discovered him dead. His mother blamed the game for her son's suicide, while the CEO of Sony disagreed.
There was no proof that Everquest resulted in his suicide. His mother stated he was addicted to the game and his suicide could be due to a possible love interest in the game. However, there is no concrete proof that it was the cause.
Video game addiction may have played a big part. Shawn also had a lot of medical issues (mental health and physical), which could have been worsened by the fact he was on his computer all of the time. He also stopped working, stopped paying his bills, and stopping interacting with his family.
Who is to blame? That's hard to say. His mother tried to get her son help, and it was not Sony's responsibility to ensure people seek help. But this is proof that video game addiction is a real issue.
In 2002, Shawn's mother founded On-Line Gamers Anonymous to help others with this addiction
It's up to the addicted person's friends and family to confront the person about their addiction. They have to take responsibility as much as the addicted person. They can't just say, "It's only a video game." They have to step in and help.
World Health Organization
In June 2018, the World Health Organization classified gaming addiction as a "gaming disorder," paving the way for mental health professionals to provide treatment to those persons who may be addicted to video games.
This is only an initial step in recognizing video games as an addiction. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association disputes that video game addiction is a disorder. However, it's a start to recognizing the problems these games can cause to the mental a
I had been playing video games for as long as I could remember. It caused major issues throughout high school, but I was able to graduate.
When I had my first job, around the age of 18, video games were becoming even more popular. The Playstation had just been released, PC games were becoming all the rage, and I had the money to buy a lot of them.
That same year I also started college. I would have had time to work on my studies, but I spent a lot of my time playing games My addiction was so bad that I would skip classes to go to work, just so I would have more money to buy games.
Eventually, I dropped out of college and worked full time. My addiction, along with other factors, caused me to lose almost everything. I lost friends and family. I had no direction in my life.
In time, I took ownership of my life and put myself on a better path. To this day, I am still playing video games, and I enjoy them a lot. If I still had an addiction issue, would I be writing this article? No. I learned to play in moderation. You can, too.
"World of Warcraft" Addiction
Do you think that you are addicted to video games?
Questions & Answers
What made you realize that there was more in your life than video games?
There wasn't one event that made me realize that, however, it was around the time I failed out of college. I was more focused on video games than anything else. I would work just to pay for video games. Once I failed out of college and saw how it affected my future, I realized that videos games weren't everything.Helpful 69
How long does it take to forget about video games if one has a video game addiction?
You will probably never forget about video games. We are bombarded with gaming stuff on a daily basis. The only way to truly disconnect is to shut off all electronics, but that's near impossible as well.Helpful 35
Where can I get help for my addiction?
http://www.olganon.org/home can be a place to start, but talking to your doctor, a close friend, or a family member is also a place you want to start. It's hard to go at it alone, so finding someone to support you through it can be the best advice I can give. Reach out to someone.
What do you do when not playing video games?
I work, I cook, I do errands, I do things with other people, etc. It's whatever I do to fill the time. I've written a ton on here, so that's a great hobby as well. It's whatever you do that you find interesting and worth doing outside of gaming.Helpful 2
Would playing video games only during holidays be too strict?
That depends on you. Holidays don't happen that often, maybe finding a balanced schedule would be best.Helpful 3
© 2013 David Livermore