Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction is one of many relatively new terms for excessive video game usage that leads to negative effects in one’s life. Other terms include Gaming Disorder, Gaming Addiction, Video Game Disorder, Problem Gaming, Internet Gaming Disorder, Technology Addiction, or Screen Addiction. The WHO and other health, psychology and psychiatric organizations are currently working on more formalized terms and diagnostic criteria for these disorders.

Spending excessive time and focus on gaming can lead to many negative effects in a person’s life including:

-Decreased school or work performance

-Loss of interest in other hobbies or people

-Negative impact on relationships with family or friends

-Negative impact on sleep

-Negative impact on health and fitness

-Decreased attention to self-care

-Negative impact on mental health

Often, the person using video games excessively will not be the first to realize it or seek help. Friends, teachers, co-workers or family often are first to notice changes in the person overusing video games.

Some of the things that may be noted:

-Irritability

-Anger

-Fatigue (appearing tired)

-Less social

-Loss of interest in other hobbies, activities and social events

-Seem distracted

-Poor hygiene or self-care

-Weight gain or weight loss

-Neglecting other responsibilities

-Worsening grades or work performance

Risk Factors for Video Game addiction:

Video game addiction is more common in males than females, and also more common in those with other issues such as impulsivity, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and depression.

How to get help:

If your life or the life of someone you know if being negatively affected by excessive video game use, they should seek help. Seeing a professional with expertise in evaluating, treating, and following up on people with video game addiction is the key to a successful outcome. Long-term effects of video game addiction can be avoided or reduced with early evaluation and treatment.