When Gaming Ceases to Be Relaxing and Becomes a Disorder Instead

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wired hands with joypad, video game addiction

Gaming is a fun way to spend time. It’s an opportunity to unwind, socialize, and escape from the realities of life. However, what happens when gaming becomes an addiction?

Gaming disorder, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is a mental health condition where a person cannot control the frequency and duration of gaming. In other words, it becomes an obsessive-compulsive behavior that negatively affects their daily lives. When gaming stops being a recreational activity and becomes a necessity, that’s when it crosses the line to become a disorder.

What causes gaming disorder?

One of the primary causes of gaming disorder is the release of dopamine, a chemical that is released in the brain when playing games. It creates a pleasurable sensation that people become addicted to. Other factors that contribute to gaming disorder are:

• Personal issues like low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression.

• Escaping reality to deal with stress.

• Social pressure to fit in.

• Easy access to gaming, either through consoles or smartphones.

• Addiction to social media.

• Loneliness and isolation.

When does gaming become a disorder?

Gaming becomes a disorder when it negatively affects an individual’s personal, social, and academic life. When the desire to play games becomes a compulsion, and people lose control of their time and emotions, they develop gaming addiction. Here are a few examples of how gaming disorder manifests:

• Physical health problems like poor sleep patterns, weight gain, and eye strain.

• Reduced academic performance or job loss.

• Neglected social relationships with family and friends.

• Ignoring basic personal needs like food, sleep, and hygiene.

• Emotional distress and lack of impulse control.

What can you do if you suspect that you or a loved one has a gaming disorder?

First, it’s important to acknowledge the issue and seek help from a professional. It is equally important to be honest with oneself about how gaming has affected their daily life and the impact it has had on others.

Second, taking a break from gaming can be the first step towards breaking the addiction. Individuals should slowly wean themselves off of gaming to make the transition easier.

Third, identifying the underlying issue that caused gaming addiction and addressing it can be an effective strategy in the road to recovery.

Gaming is not harmful in and of itself, but when it crosses the line and turns into a disorder, it can be life-altering. The key to preventing gaming addiction is self-awareness, balance, and the ability to manage the addiction before it becomes unmanageable. As the saying goes, “Too much of anything is bad,” and this is also true for gaming. Play in moderation and don’t let it control your life.

It is important to recognize that gaming disorder is a real and recognized mental health condition. Gaming can become a problem when it begins to interfere with daily life and responsibilities, such as work, school, or relationships. Some signs of gaming disorder may include losing interest in other activities, continuing to game despite negative consequences, and feeling irritable or restless when not gaming.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a mental health provider. They can provide an assessment and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as therapy or support groups. Additionally, setting limits on gaming time and finding alternative activities can be helpful in managing gaming disorder. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength and can lead to a better quality of life.

Gaming disorder, also known as video game addiction, is a condition characterized by excessive and compulsive gaming behavior that leads to negative consequences in various aspects of a person’s life. When gaming ceases to be relaxing and starts causing distress or interfering with daily activities, it may indicate the presence of a gaming disorder. Here are some signs that gaming has become a disorder:

1. Preoccupation with Gaming: The individual thinks about gaming constantly, even when not playing, and may prioritize gaming over other important responsibilities or activities.

2. Loss of Control: They find it difficult to control the amount of time spent gaming, often exceeding planned durations. They may also struggle to stop or cut back on gaming despite attempts to do so.

3. Neglecting Other Activities: Gaming takes precedence over other hobbies, interests, work, school, or socializing. The person may withdraw from real-life relationships and obligations.

4. Negative Impact on Life: Gaming interferes with personal relationships, work or academic performance, and overall well-being. They may experience a decline in physical health, neglect self-care, or have disrupted sleep patterns.

5. Withdrawal Symptoms: When unable to play, they may become irritable, restless, or depressed. They may also experience cravings to engage in gaming.

6. Escapism and Emotional Dysregulation: The person uses gaming as a way to escape from real-life problems or to alleviate negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, or loneliness.

7. Deceptive Behavior: They may lie about the amount of time spent gaming, hide the extent of their gaming activities, or try to conceal the negative consequences resulting from excessive gaming.

It’s important to note that not all intense gaming is classified as a disorder. The behavior becomes problematic when it significantly impairs one’s ability to function in various aspects of life. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms and they are causing distress, seeking professional help from a mental health expert, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, is recommended. They can provide a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan tailored to the individual’s needs.