Video Game Addiction

Published: 11th September 2009
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When most of us hear that someone has an addiction, we think alcohol or drugs. But addictive behaviors are becoming just as prominent as substance addictions. The following conditions exist when something is labeled an addiction:

• The person must have more and more of the substance or the behavior to keep him going.

• If the person does not get more, he becomes irritable and despondent.

Compulsive gambling is a behavioral addiction that has been recognized for some time now. These days with the proliferation of computers and gaming machines for the television, especially in the bedrooms of children and teenagers, video game addiction meets the criteria and is recognized as another type of behavior addiction. But video game addiction is not limited to our kids. Adults have lost jobs and relationships because they can't stop playing a game. However, video game addiction does seem to be most common among younger males.

Some of the experts think that on-line games are even more addictive than the games played on devices like XBox or against the computer. On-line games have chat rooms and other features that allow the player to get wrapped up in an entire community of others playing along with them.

Some experts believe that, like gambling, playing video games increases dopamine levels in the body. Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters in our body that can affect mood, which somehow can affect the brain's system of motivation and reward.

Signs of Addiction
Playing a lot of video games doesn't necessarily make someone and addict. Most people can do this without a problem. But when the ability to control the amount of time they play becomes an issue, it's time to start looking for other signs that include:

• Playing more often and for increasing amounts of time

• Thinking about the game even when you are not playing

• Playing video games to avoid problems or depression

• Lying in order to conceal how much you are playing

• Feeling angry and irritable if you try to cut back

Gaming addicts also tend to withdraw from their normal social groups and activities and isolate themselves from the rest of the world.

Getting Help
The question is how do you put a teenager or anyone else who is addicted to gaming through "detox"? The treatment is similar to detox, except that computers are part of life, school, and jobs so it would be almost impossible to keep someone addicted to computer games away from a computer, just like you can't keep food completely away from compulsive eaters. The game addict has to learn to live with computers and use them responsibly without playing games. You can't limit game time to an hour a day, either. The temptation to keep going would be too strong.

Some experts agree that the most important thing to make gaming addicts realize is that they have no power over their addiction and then help them find something in their real life that gives them the kind of excitement that video games do.

To read more about symptoms and how to overcome drug, alcohol, or porn addiction then visit the comprehensive addiction site.



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