Virtual gaming has become a hugely popular hobby across the globe. With companies producing more and more interactive games by the day, it is hard for any individual to get bored. However, this has a downside too – While gaming as such in not bad, in fact it is a good way to enhance some skills, including time management, gaming has been known to cause an addiction in a certain section of people.
So this article is addressed to those of you who have quit gaming because of a previous addiction or is even worried to try out of fear that you’ll be addicted. Rest assured, we have foolproof ways to prevent addiction while allowing you to enjoy as much gaming as you want.
Let’s define addiction
First things first, let’s define gaming addiction. Like with any addiction, gaming addiction too is an impulse control disorder. The affected individual often spends quite a lot of time playing games overlooking other duties and responsibilities and sometimes even ignoring their own health. There is a sense that they need more gaming to keep going on and not getting it makes the individual irritable and sometimes even violent.
While there is no drug or substance as such being abused, medically controlling the addiction is not always an option. This makes it harder for people around the victim and the victim as such to accept the reality of the addiction. Video gaming addiction is comparable with gambling addiction. Both if left unchecked, can adversely affect the mental and physical well being of the person.
Symptoms Of Gaming Addiction
We have two types of prominent symptoms classified into behavioral symptoms and physical symptoms. We’ll take a look at the behavioural symptoms first.
- The first and biggest one would be that the individual spends a major chunk of his time at video games. In fact, they might skip meals and hold off taking restroom breaks even.
- If refused access to games, the individual may become anything from moody or irritable to downright violent. This stems from the feeling that they need to continue gaming to keep going.
- A sense of belonging or loyalty to fellow gaming bots or people. Often living as if the world around them is the game itself.
- Failing repeatedly to quit gaming despite the effort that the individual takes themselves. They end up gaming longer than they plan and often find a compulsive need to continue gaming.
- Overlooking relationships and general attitude towards others. This is commonly seen in older people. Many relationships have failed due to compulsive gaming.
- Using gaming as a method to escape other troubles they face in real life or depression in general.
- Spending money on buying paid add-ons inside games and finding lame reasons to justify it. If this is not controlled, finances could be affected causing more depression.
- Dropping performance in real life. It could be bad grades or underperformance at work due to fatigue and distraction.
If this wasn’t bad enough, gaming addictions have been known to cause physical damages to the gamers as well. Here are some of them:
- Carpal tunnel – Gaming addicts often develop the carpal tunnel syndrome from holding and using controllers for long periods of time. The condition is characterised by a tingling or numb sensation around the wrist and palms/fingers. It is caused due to damage/pressure to the median nerve. While this sounds silly, carpal tunnel can cause crippling pain if left unchecked. And the best solution to it is to catch the early symptoms and to avoid any activity that puts pressure on the median nerve. In this case, it would be to stop gaming altogether. Keep in mind that advanced cases of carpal tunnel can be corrected only with surgery.
- Back ache and vision problems: Sitting crouched for long hours will cause muscle and neural problems to the back and spine. If corrective measures are not taken up immediately, they could cause permanent muscle damage and chronic backaches. Also, staring at the screen with immense interest often reduces the rate at which we blink. This dries out eyes and often leads to impaired vision and other problems.
Getting Help And Overcoming Addiction
Unlike alcohol or substance abuse, gaming addiction is easier to cure and leaves lesser physical damages. That does not mean that it should be taken lightly. Although research suggests that even women can fall victim to gaming addiction, the condition is more commonly seen in males and young children/teens. So the first step towards overcoming, lies in identifying the symptoms early.
- Analyze your own habits. If you spend more than 8 hours at any point, you must cease immediately.
- Family and friends could directly confront a suspected addict and give them a peaceful talk about how this not the way to carry on.
- Distract your thoughts and keep gaming out of your mind. Take up a more productive hobby to channel all that energy positively.
- Never skip meals or bathroom breaks, if you find yourself doing that, take active effort to curb the need to game.
- If you find yourself being angry towards someone who took away your gaming equipment, distract yourself immediately and tell yourself that the friend/loved one is only concerned about your wellbeing.
- Backaches or wrist pains should be immediately checked. Never leave them unattended.
- Finally, if all else fails, discard your gaming equipment. Sell it, burn it, give it away – whatever it takes to keep you away from it.
Preventing The Addiction From Forming
Prevention, as they say is always better than cure. Thankfully, there are some effective ways in which you can prevent a gaming addiction from forming. Here is what you can do –
- NEVER BUY GAMING GEAR. EVER. If you think you could get addicted, always rent gaming equipment when you find yourself wanting to play. This is the single most effective step that can save you a lot of grief.
- Set hours and try to play with friends. Best avoid playing alone as you could lose track of time and end up bingeing.
- At the first signs of compulsion, return the gaming equipment.
- Arrange a friend to keep watch of your gaming patterns. Make them swear that they will punch you, if need be, as and when they see first signs of addiction.
Good News – We’ve Got You Covered
Not gaming is not really healthy either. In fact gaming, if practised in a controlled fashion, is something that could enhance your multitasking and time management skills. So a healthy amount of gaming is fine, good even for you.
At Guarented, we’re well aware of the issues and harm that gaming addiction can cause to an individual. This is why, unlike some of our other products, gaming gear is rented out on a per day basis. This ensures that everyone gets to game to their heart’s content but not more than necessary. So if you are a fan of gaming or a reformed gaming looking for that one last round, come to us. We’ll make sure that we retrieve the products before they do you any harm.
And that’s all folks. We hope you found this article useful and remember, if you suspect someone to be becoming a gaming addict, act immediately.
So here’s wishing you a happy gaming experience!
P.S. – If you have any gaming experiences to share, we’ll be more than happy to hear it from you.