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Gaming and Games Addiction

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What is it?

Gaming is a time killer that can be extremely fun. There are more than 2000 video games, not including mobile games and other types. Gaming allows you to use your imagination, discover various strategies, multitask, and more. There are so many different games that it’s easy to get lost in the void of games these days, especially since we all are at home and want to connect with friends amusingly. Here are a few different types of games: adventure, hobbies, action, role-play, strategy, sport, and logic.

Gaming is an excellent way to bond, especially in this challenging time since seeing people face to face is not an option, and video games give off an illusion of being there with someone. It’s so great that it’s somewhat effortless to get addicted to without even noticing, as you probably already know you get addicted after dopamine releases which we will talk about more later. This addiction is an official disorder declared by the World Health Organization, and it is a severe problem. I am not trying to imply that you shouldn’t game at all because that is absurd; gaming is okay but to an extent.

Not too many people that game gets an addiction from it. In fact, according to The Recovery Village, around 1–10% of all gamers got high levels of addiction towards it. However, since there are so many gamers, it makes it so that more than 2 billion people have obtained an addiction from it, so it is essential to stay on your feet and be vigilant about the amount of time that you spend on it. The meaning of this addiction is defined by the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behaviour. The World Health Organization characterizes it as a loss of control over gaming, prioritizing gaming over other activities, and continuing to do so despite adverse consequences.

Gaming addiction can lead to an increased risk of depression, loss of focus, anxiety, and insomnia. It does start taking over your life and has many risks attached to it. All the flashing lights and coins may be appealing, but they can physically and mentally harm you. A way to know if you have it is to try to go 1-5 days without gaming; if you can, you are most likely not addicted, although it may be an issue if you can’t. More than 4 hours per day of gaming is also a sign.

What to do?

So, now that you know what it is, how do you overcome it if you do have an addiction? If it does seem out of hand (and if you are experiencing many signs), seek professional help and get a diagnosis that will help you overcome the addiction as soon as possible because if you continue, it will be an even bigger problem in the end. Especially if you bought something from the game, it could make you more attached, causing you to get addicted. People who are addicted will often say something to deny it, such as “I can stop anytime, I just choose not to.” The first step is to recognize it and acknowledge its existence. Here is a video of something I found hysterical and the denial that might be apparent; https://youtu.be/YFbUnyo06jc.

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The first step and one of the most important would be to recognize the addiction and find the root of the problem from within - where is the urge coming from, and how can you reduce it? After knowing that, you can create plans such as adding reminders, deleting, timers, and keeping an open mind. If it seems out of hand, you must seek help by going to your doctor, therapist, or pediatrician to give you further information or even talk to your guidance counsellor at school.

According to WebMD, if you have more than 5 of the below warning signs, it is advised that you talk to a professional.

  1. When you can’t play, you feel horrible and need to spend more and more time playing to feel good.

  2. Lying to people about how much time you spend playing.

  3. All or most of the time, you’re thinking about gaming.

  4. Despite these issues that go on around you, you’re still playing.

  5. Not being able to stop playing or even wanting to do other activities you used to enjoy.

  6. Are you having issues at work, school, or at home due to your gaming?

  7. Using video games to alleviate negative emotions and feelings.


Next, find ways to replace your addiction with something more healthy, like finding a new hobby. This can be like yoga, singing, reading, exercising, etc.

Setting limits

Put devices away from you when it’s not needed, especially before sleeping. It is recommended to have no screen time at least 1 hour before bed. Create limits that can be a screen time limit; this can be done in your device’s settings.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

Based on WebMD, this therapy helps to target the thought about gaming and replace it to help change the thought pattern. Although cognitive-behavioural therapy is made to target gaming, it can help with various disorders and things that keep you from your full potential. Verywell Mind gives examples of anxiety, depression, panic attacks, addictions, eating disorders, anger phobias, and more. There are different types of CBT, and firstly there is cognitive therapy targeting to change bad patterned thoughts. Secondly, there is dialectical behaviour therapy which targets thought by focusing more on wellbeing. Thirdly, rational emotive behaviour therapy targets changing unconscious beliefs and works on changing someone’s mindset. Lastly, multimodal therapy consists of treating psychological problems that could be invoked from behaviour, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal factors, and drug/biological considerations.

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Once you talk to your therapist/professional, they will most likely recommend what they think is suitable for you after accessing you. There may be changes after it all, depending on the impact and source of the issue. Identifying negative thinking, practicing new hobbies, goal-setting, and problem-solving are some of the approaches used. This could be done by yourself but takes a lot more determination as there might be no one monitoring you or identifying exact next steps, and a professional has more experience. According to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Los Angeles, this therapy has over 500 studies portraying its benefits. Overall, CBT allows you to clear your mind and helps bring the real you out.

Article Author: Preet Kaur Chohan

Article Editors: Sherilyn Wen, Victoria Huang