A look upon games being an addiction
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A look upon games being an addiction

Behavioural addiction / process addiction/ natural reward refers to different mental health conditions in which a person engages in a particular behaviour repeatedly; even if the behaviour causes them harm—it may seem as if they simply cannot resist engaging in it.

Behavioural addiction is a form of addiction that involves a overwhelming desire to engage in a reinforcing non-substance-related behaviour despite any negative repercussions to the person’s biopsychosocial and physical well-being.

The most recent version of the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists only one behavioural addiction (gambling disorder), three behavioural compulsions (hoarding disorder, trichotillomania, and excoriation), and one impulse-control disorder (kleptomania).


Characteristics traits of behaviour addiction are :

  • Preoccupation with the behaviour.
  • Lessened ability to control the behaviour.
  • Increased tolerance to the behaviour to get the desired gratification.
  • Experiencing withdrawal if the behaviour is avoided or resisted.
  • Experiencing adverse psychological consequences, such as depression or anxiety symptoms, when the behaviour is avoided or resisted.


Types of Addictive Behaviour

Although not all of the addictions are recognized by the DSM-5, , many healthcare providers believe these are “real” addictions. And some behavioural addictions are more common than others, including: Gambling addiction, sex addiction, internet addiction, shopping addiction, tattoo addiction, video game addiction etc.

Let’s discuss in detail what game addiction is all about, the signs that you’re a game addict, it’s prevalence, risk factors and few of the recent researches related.


Game Addiction:

The terminology “video game addiction” not mentions if the user plays on-line or off-line games. However, the DSM-5 (APA, 2018) mentioned a type of video game addiction (related only to on-line games) called Internet Gaming Disorder which is characterised by persistent and recurrent use of the Internet to engage in games, often with other players, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as indicated by five (or more) of the following in a 12-month period :

  1. Preoccupation with Internet games (the individual thinks about previous gaming activity or anticipates playing the next game; Internet gaming becomes the dominant activity in daily life);
  2. Withdrawal symptoms when Internet gaming is taken away (these symptoms are typically described as irritability, anxiety, or sadness, but there are no physical signs of pharmacological withdrawal.);
  3. Tolerance – the need to spend increasing amounts of time engaged in Internet games;
  4. Unsuccessful attempts to control the participation in Internet games;
  5. Loss of interests in previous hobbies and entertainment as a result of, and with the exception of, Internet games;
  6. Continued excessive use of Internet games despite knowledge of psychosocial problems;
  7. Has deceived family members, therapists, or others regarding the amount of Internet gaming;
  8. Use of Internet games to escape or relieve a negative mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety);
  9. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of participation in Internet games.


Video games offer a deep learning experience (Bergland,2013)

A well recognised benefit of video games is no doubt the cognitive development that games induce in their players. Games offer a deep learning experience and train exactly the skills employers are looking for. The opportunities to develop games that are specifically training these skills are endless!

Playing video games is often perceived as a lazy form of entertainment and concerned parents often want their children to be playing outside instead of playing so-called addictive games. Video games actually promote a wide range of cognitive skills. If we can identify which games are best at developing these skills, then we can use these in the overall cognitive development and education of our children and young people.


Prevalence of game addiction among adolescents:

1.4 % addicted gamers, 7.3 % problem gamers, 3.9 % engaged gamers, and 87.4 % normal gamers.


Health Risks and Concerns :

Compulsive video gaming can have negative effect on developing mind or body for an individuals while hours of sitting on the couch or at the computer desk. Some of the major concerns that is being noticed amingst the younger players are :

  1. Sedentary lifestyle: Hours spent sitting at the computer or in front of device can take a toll on the young person’s body. The lack of person physical exercise, being involved in video gaming has lead children and teens to concern about weight gain, poor posture and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  2. Lack of social engagement: Although video games require engaging with others in computerized environment, they don’t necessarily prepare children for the realities of socializing with their peers. Learning how to interact with others in a real-world setting is important social skills that are usually been neglected by individual who spend too much time gaming.
  3. Problems with concentration and attention: There is some concern that the rapid movement and fast paced action of video games promote loss of concentration in children spend a lot of time playing video games, may become less interested in reading books, for example which requires more focused prolonged attention.
  4. Avoidance of developmental task: Adolescence is a time of self-discovery and personal development. In order to become mature adults who can take on challenges of life, teenagers must learn how to confront painful emotions and awkward social experiences. When you stop appropriately, fantasy role playing video games can help children learn and apply valuable character traits that may help them in their interactions with others. But when we do gaming is used as an escape mechanism, it allows children to avoid the developmental challenges of growing up.
  5. Increased aggression or violence: Children and teens who devote a lot of time to playing video games that focus on combat, fighting, or violence may display more signs of aggression than those who don’t play these games.
  6. Seizures and repetitive stress injuries: The flickering graphics, lights, and colors of video game displays make trigger seizure activity in some There is also evidence that compulsive game playing may lead to repetitive stress injuries of the wrists or hands.


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