Video Game Addiction-Symptoms and Treatment of Video Game Addiction

What is video game addiction? Are video games addictive? Are you a video game addict? Video game addiction is often referred to as video game overuse, a compulsive or excessive use of computer games and/or video games. Video game addicts are believed to exhibit the same psychological addictive behaviors as gambling addiction, often described as an impulse control disorder.

The 2007 study by the American Medical Association reviewing video game addiction concluded that “more research and studies are needed to provide conclusive evidence that video game addiction is a disorder.” Increased pressure is being placed upon the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to include “Internet/video game addiction” in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the standard diagnostic text used by psychiatrists worldwide.

Research by Stanford University School of Medicine in 2008 shows video games do have addictive characteristics, and a Harris Interactive Poll released in April 2007 showed that 8.5% of youth gamers in the United States could be “classified as pathologically or clinically addicted to playing video games.”

Are your children addicted to video games? Are you addicted to playing video games? Is your boyfriend or husband addicted to video games, or perhaps your girlfriend or wife? Are you an adult with an internet addiction that consumes most if not all of your time, perhaps creating problems in your personal relationships, marriage or job?

Research into computer game addiction or video game addiction statistics shows that men and boys are more likely to become addicted to video games (if they aren’t already), versus the percentage of girls and women becoming addicted to video games, but the numbers of female video game addicts are rising. If you don’t know or don’t understand video game ratings, how games are rated and the effect the ratings should have on your video game playing habits or purchases, it’s time to become fully aware.

Signs of Addiction

Here are some symptoms or signs of video game addiction as well as computer game addiction to help determine if your children are addicted to video games, or if you and/or your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend or wife are video game addicts.

For Children:

  1. Most of their “free time”, non-school hours are spent on the computer or playing video games.
  2. Fatigue; tendency to fall asleep in school.
  3. Not keeping up with homework assignments/not turning in homework on time.
  4. Worsening grades.
  5. Lying about computer or video game use so computer or video game privileges aren’t taken away.
  6. Choosing the computer or playing video games rather than spending time with friends or family.
  7. Dropping out of activities such as social groups, clubs or sports.
  8. Irritable, cranky or agitated (withdrawal symptoms) when not playing a video game or on the computer.

For Adults:

  1. Obsession or preoccupation about computer games or playing video games on a video game console excessively
  2. Neglecting personal relationships with friends and family to spend more time playing video games
  3. Difficulty keeping up with personal or professional responsibilities due to increased hours playing video games. Have you ever “called in sick” to stay home to play your favorite game?
  4. Lying to others about computer or video game use. Do you sneak time to play games, perhaps late at night while others are asleep? Has someone close to you, perhaps your significant other, ever criticized you for spending too much time playing video games rather than spending time with them?
  5. While not spending time on the internet or playing video games, do you feel angry, agitated, irritable or depressed? Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when not playing video games?
  6. Do you spend most of your time thinking or wishing you could be playing your favorite game or surfing the web?
  7. Do you become so involved in playing video games that you sometimes neglect to eat, sleep, or bathe?
  8. Do you ever experience physical symptoms such as backaches, dry eyes or headaches after playing video games? Have you been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or experience symptoms of carpal tunnel?

Let’s get real, shall we? If you are truly convinced that your teenagers or young children are addicted to video games or computer games, it’s your job as the parent to get your kids off the computer and off the video game console, providing them ample opportunity for active play and natural exercise in and outside of the home.

Make no mistake, video game addiction is a real addiction and if you are a parent that is concerned about your home-grown video game addict, it’s up to you to parent your children and closely monitor and limit their gaming activities. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG’s) are designed to be addictive.

Video game makers and marketers are counting on people to become addicted to the games! Cha-Ching! It’s a lot of money in their pockets, and a lot of money out of your pockets. Let your children whine, cry and complain all they want about placing restrictions and limits on their game use, but be the parent.

One of the effects of children addicted to video games is the increase in childhood obesity amongst young children and teens due to excessive amounts of time spent leading a more sedentary lifestyle (and poor eating habits), amongst other physical, emotional and mental problems associated with too much time being spent playing video games.

Be the parent of your children, not their friend. If the video game problem in your home is so bad that you feel your child is a “video game addict”, or if your children spend too much time watching television, shut it down and get your children involved in other activities that encourage and promote active play and that provides more than finger and thumb exercises from video game controls.

Adult Video Game Addicts

Are you an adult addicted to video games? How does your significant other feel about the amount of time you spend playing video games, rather than spending needed time with him or her? Do you spend most of your free time as an internet addict, surfing the web or participating in various message boards, forums or chat rooms so much so that your relationship or marriage is in serious jeopardy?

Have you considered (or do you even care) that your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife may consider your video game addiction or internet addiction as a relationship deal breaker and may be considering ending the relationship? Remember, “video game addicts are believed to exhibit the same psychological addictive behaviors as gambling addiction, often described as an impulse control disorder.” Gambling addiction is on the list of relationship deal breakers, and you’d be wise to consider the effects your addiction has on your relationship or marriage before it’s too late.

Treatment for Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction treatment centers are popping up in countries like China, South Korea, the Netherlands and the United States in an effort to provide help for video game addiction. Detox for video game addiction is designed to help video game addicts learn how to effectively eliminate their compulsive, addictive behaviors much like those addicted to gambling and/or alcohol abuse.

Video game addiction books provide helpful advice to video game addicts on how to beat computer and video game addiction, as well as important information for parents struggling with their children’s addiction to video games. Information in these books on video game addiction also discuss the increasing number of violent video games and the harmful effects these games may have on children and teens that parents may or may not be aware of.