Over 2 billion people around the world play video games, which together create a market that has grown into an industry of over $ 120 billion. 74% of the French population declare playing video games occasionally: 97% among young people between 10 and 14 years old, 94% among 15-18 year olds, up to 67% for the 45-54 year old and 55 % among those over 55.
For most of these players, playing video games is a fun hobby, a way to relax, connect with friends and take on challenges. Unfortunately, for some of them, this hobby can quickly degenerate into an addictive disorder that can take over their lives. Because when someone needs to play video games to be happy and they feel miserable when they are not playing, it suggests that they could be suffering from a disorder as real as alcoholism or addiction to drugs. medication.
Video game disorder
The idea that a person may be dependent on a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains controversial. The arguments against the possibility of addiction to video games are numerous, but they mainly converge on three major points: excessive gambling is not a real addiction, but rather the symptom of a more important underlying problem. , such as depression or anxiety. However, evidence has emerged from many sources: studies indicating that problem gambling and addictive drugs alter brain reward circuits in a similar fashion.
Even without an officially diagnosed disorder, some people sacrifice their marriage and work to spend more than 60 hours a week playing. Some children and teens become so addicted to video games that they even threaten their parents when it’s time to put down the controls.
Research with people who are addicted to video games shows that they have poorer mental health, cognitive functioning and impulse control than people who are not addicted to video games. They also have increased emotional difficulties and report feeling more socially isolated.
The World Health Organization has even officially added a new disorder to the section on addiction and addictive behaviors in its international classification of diseases: “video game disorder”, which it defines as:
… A loss of control over the game, an increased priority given to the game, to the point where it takes precedence over other centers of interest and daily activities, and by the continuation or the growing practice of the game in spite of damaging repercussions.
How can I get help if I am addicted to video games?
If you realize it is time to get over your addiction or help someone who is suffering from it, there are many resources available to help you. For example support groups or an online Psychologist who can also help people break free from their addiction.
The days are long gone when you had to meet a therapist face to face for help. Today, teletherapy companies allow you to obtain care and call a Psychotherapist online 24 hours a day and anonymously without having to leave your home. Texting, phone calls and videoconferencing have made it easier than ever to access healthcare wherever you are. And compared to traditional therapy, online therapy can often be cheaper. This is an excellent thing, especially since many of us are still reluctant to leave our house due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Why can video games be addictive?
Addiction to video games is most commonly seen among players in the multiplayer online role-playing world. These games have many attractions: they are interactive, have a social character, are competitive and take place in real time. A player can join clans, make friends, help other players and develop their status. Although the parameters are virtual, the relationships are very real. For the player, the feeling of being part of a story and having a role to play can be important and significant, especially if it lacks social gratification in their real life.
As with any addiction, addiction to video games is showing early warning signs. Knowing how to recognize these signs is essential if you or someone you love is an avid gamer. If you are unsure whether these symptoms apply to you, you can call a therapist to discuss your possible symptoms or to learn more about treatment options.
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