Video game addiction is real and it can badly impact one’s everyday life.

Photo by Andrea Marie Tan
Photo by Andrea Marie Tan

Video games offer enjoyment and an escape from reality, but they also increases the possibility of developing an addiction.

Recent statistics show that about 70% of youth have ceased all forms of exercise and have turned to video games as a popular pastime. Video games are fine in moderation but excessive use has very detrimental health impacts and has the capability of impacting one’s day-to-day activities.

What is video game addiction and how can you identify it?

A video game addiction is defined as being an excessive and compulsive use of computer and/or video games resulting in significant problems with one’s behavior and interpersonal relationships. A video game addict would be a person who indulges in video games for over 10 hours a day and has been doing so for over the span of one year.

Identifying video game addiction in oneself is relatively simple. The persistence of any of the following symptoms most likely entails that an addiction is present:

1.) Sleep deprivation on more than one occasion. This means that one neglects sleep in favor of gaming.

2.) Failing to meet responsibilities. This includes disregarding school, work or other responsibilities due to the constant desire to game.

3.) Absence of social life. Gaming can cause one to neglect their family and friends and is capable of creating significant interpersonal relationship issues.

4.) Gaming is a priority. Most of the time, individuals are aware they are abandoning their responsibilities in favor of gaming. However, they cannot seem to draw their attention away from the games or cannot do so for an extended period of time.

5.) Using video games to escape any conflicting emotions. Many addicts use video games as a means to escape from a stressful or troubling situation.

If an individual shows signs of having more than one of these symptoms and/or more that were not mentioned, they are probably a video game addict.

Steps to recover from a video game addiction.

Being a video game addict is not a lost cause, in fact there are many steps to take to recovery. A few steps to follow include:

1.) Setting limits for how long one can play and forcefully sticking to one’s goals. It is better to start off small than prohibit oneself from playing altogether.

2.) Keeping video game gadgets out of one’s room. This is one step in conquering sleep deprivation as an individual is more likely to get a better night’s sleep without gadgets in the room.

3.) Exercise. This may seem like a lousy alternative to playing video games, but it helps get one’s mind off the constant urge to game to focus on the action at hand.

4.) Seek help. Seeking help is the best solution to overcoming video game addiction because a professional therapist is best suited for evaluating addiction symptoms, determining the severity of the condition and offering steps to recovery created to personally benefit an individual.

Video game addiction is real and is a serious issue that can negatively impact someone’s everyday life. There are many resources available on the UBC Okanagan Campus for anyone suffering from addiction and seeking to make a healthy recovery.