Video Game Addiction
The video game industry has just experienced its best year in 2019, with overall video game sales exceeding $49 billion and the industry as a whole exceeding $100 billion in gross revenues. This the same year that the World Health Organization has officially declared Video Gaming Disorder and official mental health diagnosis.
Recent statistics show that over 164 million Americans play video games. Why wouldn’t they? Video games can be a great form of entertainment and have even been known to improve cognitive ability and problem-solving skills. The main issue is that for some the addictive nature of these games and many people that have damaged their everyday lives in order to maintain a lifestyle that involves gaming.
So, how do you actually become addicted to a video game? Truthfully, you don’t. You get addicted to the effects of elevated dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a pleasure chemical that’s evolved for our survival, but sometimes our brain gets highjacked by addictive substances and behaviors like video games. Each time you do well or something new on a video game, a small dose of dopamine is delivered to your brain. And what makes it particularly addictive is that there is variability in when and how you receive rewards on the game, and that makes the video game similar to a slot machine. This is essentially what makes playing the game and achieving new goals within the game entertaining and desirable. Your brain’s dopamine receptors can become accustomed to this dose of dopamine over time which we call tolerance. This is the same case for people who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. Your brain does not care what substance or behavior is providing the dopamine, it just knows that it wants it again and the more variable and novel it is the stronger that additive pull will be.
The addictive properties of video gaming can be related to other addictive behaviors such as gambling, pornography or shopping. Video games are designed intentionally to give you the feeling that you can and should always improve upon your previous performance. Players are left with the feeling of potential and of maybe getting to that new goal or achievement. You could possibly level-up the next time you play, or you could beat that level or task that has been driving you crazy. It is this same potential that keeps gamblers coming back to the casinos as well.
Are you addicted to video games? Take the Greenfield Video Game Addiction Test (GVGAT).
Addictive patterns of behavior
To ensure that the Greenfield Recovery Center can help our Participants achieve their goal of breaking free from video game addiction, we look for the following characteristics and behaviors:
- Frequent or repetitive use of video games on any platform including laptop/computer, tablet, Smartphone, handheld, console, etc.
- A notable impact in life-balance: including academic performance, occupational issues, personal hygiene and self-care, time management, less social relationships, reduced or excessive sleep, health issues, irritability or anger when access to screens are removed, social isolation, and reduced engagement in previously pleasureful and satisfying activities, and difficulty or failure to launch.
- The use of videos games as a mean to alter your mood to the exclusion of others task or activities that are necessary for living a balanced life.
- The use of video games to cope with boredom, frustration, avoiding schoolwork or a job, or dealing with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.
- Life Imbalances within the any of the following spheres of life:
How we can help
Greenfield Recovery Center was specifically designed to help people overcome their video game addictions. Greenfield Recovery Center is located in the quiet, calm, country setting of Leyden, Massachusetts. The 19 serene acres of private woodlands in the foothills of the Berkshire and Green Mountain ranges provide a natural environment that allows our participants to enjoy an alternative to screens and technology.
Are you ready to take back the control over video games?
Speak with a recovery advisor now.
Click here to learn how to manage your technology use so it doesn’t manage you.