Online Gaming Addiction is Real
Gambling is a game that gets a lot of attention as an addiction due to the monetary losses that are often incurred when things get out of hand. But there is another side to the game world that claims addicts much more frequently. Video games and online games have exploded in popularity in the last decade with newer game consoles offering multiplayer mode via the Internet and the vast worlds of MMO-RPGs becoming so highly developed that you can literally get lost in the untold options available to your fingertips. But is this really an addiction worth talking about?
Just because there isn’t a direct substance dependency involved with gaming addiction, that doesn’t mean it can’t become a problem. Anything that begins to damage your life and cut you off from people around you is a cause for concern and often a first sign of addiction. One gamer shared his story with the Washington Post in order to spread awareness to his peers that there is indeed a risk involved when you let a game or hobby get the best of you.
The author, Michael, describes spending hours upon hours staring at the screen as he played endless matches and ongoing quests in his games of choice. His apartment was a mess and reeked of old food and unwashed human. His friends stopped talking to him because he became a recluse who refused to participate in real life. Michael was buying eye drops to lubricate his eyes when they got so dry and strained from the glow of the screen that he couldn’t keep them open anymore. He only ate when hunger forced him to and then it was whatever was fast, cheap, and readily available.
His job, his college enrollment, all of it was blown away by his obsession with a couple of specific online games. This kind of behavior has been documented with many people in the past 15 years and studies are continuing to get the green light for more information on how to understand and treat this particular trance-induced addiction problem. Michael says it didn’t start out this way. He was once a normal gamer who would play for a couple hours and then go participate in real life. But eventually there was only the game.
Games and hobbies are a great way to connect with your interests and even team up with friends far and near but if the activity begins to overshadow everything in your life, including your health, relationships, finances, and wellbeing, you start to fit the profile of a junkie jamming Xbox into your arm for the next fix of competitive digital entertainment.
If this is you, be honest with yourself and seek help with setting limits for your gaming time. No digital entertainment is worth the limited days and hours of your living, breathing life.