When it comes to addiction, those who suffer from substance dependency tend to feel very strongly about certain behavioral addictions. It is not uncommon for drug addicts and alcoholics to shun those who suffer from lesser-understood addictions, an interesting dynamic that has been an issue in recovery communities across the nation for several years. However, behavioral addictions such as video game dependency can be just as detrimental to an individual’s mental and physical wellbeing. Those who engage in compulsive game playing for extended periods of time tend to eventually develop patterns of behavior such as severe social isolation, mood swings, and increased aggression. While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has experienced much controversy revolving around the inclusion of video gaming as a diagnosable disorder, the American Psychiatric Association has developed 9 criteria for conclusively characterizing the proposed disorder.
Video Game Addiction Criteria
- Pre-Occupation with gaming.
Advancing in video games becomes the main objective of an individual’s day and it becomes difficult to engage in other activities without thinking about video games.
- Withdrawal (mental and emotional).
When an individual is unable to play or is attempting to cut down, he or she may feel moody, irritable, anxious, discontent, or depressed.
- A building up of tolerance.
It becomes necessary to play for longer amounts of time or to play more exciting games with heavier duty equipment.
- Inability to cut back despite efforts to reduce gaming.
Despite the fact that an individual recognizes he or she may have a problem, he or she cannot stop regardless of attempts.
- Continuing to game despite negative consequences.
An individual may experience a sense of urgency to continue gaming despite issues at home, at school, at work, and with relationships.
- Giving up other activities.
One may experience a lack of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies and extracurricular activities, occupying time with little other than advancing in video games.
- Trying to deceive or cover up gaming.
One may begin to lie about use, trying to convince loved ones they have cut back when they haven’t in actuality.
- Using gaming to escape adverse moods.
An individual with gaming dependency may begin to use video games to numb or distract from uncomfortable feelings.
- Risking or losing relationships or opportunities.
Gaming becomes top priority – interpersonal relationships may suffer significantly and opportunities may be neglected.
There Is Help Available For Video Game Addiction
It has become clear that video game addiction possesses many of the same devastating characteristics as a chemical addiction to drugs or alcohol. If you or someone you love has been affected by an addiction to video games, there is help available. Feel free to call one of our trained representatives to discuss your potential treatment options today.