Video Game Addiction

Does your teen spend the majority of his free time indoors on the computer, only taking breaks for snacks and the bathroom? Does he ignore friends, family, even showers, while his grades plummet and belligerence soars? He might have a video game addiction.

When time spent playing video games reaches a point that it harms a child’s or adult’s family and social relationships, or disrupts school or work life, that person may be caught in a cycle of addiction. The Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence say video game addiction is becoming this country’s most increasingly worrisome epidemic, comparable even to drug and alcohol abuse. It isn’t just affecting teenagers. In older addicts, compulsive gaming can jeopardize jobs or relationships.

Signs of Addiction

According to the Center for On-Line Addiction, warning signs for video game addiction include:

  • Playing for increasing amounts of time
  • Thinking about gaming during other activities
  • Gaming to escape from real-life problems, anxiety, or depression
  • Lying to friends and family to conceal gaming
  • Feeling irritable when trying to cut down on gaming

Physical signs of video game addiction include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Back, neck aches
  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes
  • Failure to eat regularly or neglect personal hygiene

Addiction Dangers

As many as one in 30 computer game players have symptoms similar to those of gambling and drug addicts, psychologists say. Even the most casual teen gamers are affected by video games and suffer from low self esteem issues compared to their more athletic and social peers. The studies also revealed, younger gamers were more likely to become lifetime addicts and social outcasts a good way to fuel a continued video game addiction.

The most important thing to realize when helping a person with a video game addiction is that he or she really doesn’t think there is anything wrong. After all they have hundreds of friends (all virtual) and aren’t abusing any substances. Patience is necessary when dealing with people with video addictions. One also must seek the help of trained addiction professionals. With love and support and of course awareness, a video game addiction can be overcome.

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