Can Video Games Cause Anxiety?

Published by Internet Addiction Center on

There have been many studies linking video gaming to depression, anxiety and social phobia in children, teens and adults. If you have searched the internet and found this article then you are probably one of the countless people who have seen negative mental health effects of excessive gaming on their loved ones or yourself.

Let’s start by thinking about how video games work. The goal for a video game developer is to have you want to play more often, for longer periods of time. Anxiety (feeling worried or nervous about something with an uncertain outcome) is by definition part of gaming. If you didn’t feel nerves or worry about winning, scoring points, meeting goals, or other achievements in the game then you would be unlikely to play. Anxiety, rushes of adrenaline, and rushes of excitement/joy or sadness/disappointment are just part of the emotional roller coaster that video games put people on.

If the player has underlying issues with anxiety of any kind (social anxiety, phobias, etc), then gaming is probably not the best way to spend their time. This is particularly true in children and teens who are more impressionable and sensitive to stressors and anxiety-provoking situations.

If you are concerned that your child may be gaming excessively and it is affecting their well-being, please contact us and see if we can help get them better.