Why is Video Games Addicting?
Since there is at least one gamer in 75% of American households you probably know at least one person who plays computer video games regularly. Few people deny that someone can play video games too often and it is easy to say that someone is “addicted” when he just needs to take a break. So is video games addicting possible?
There is currently no scientific consensus on when video game overuse becomes addictive or if it is at all possible. For this reason, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has classified “Internet Gambling Disorder (IGD)” as an unverified potential diagnosis that requires further examination.
A study conducted in 2017 in the association’s official journal left the possibility that the classification could change one day.
However, he stated that there are not enough studies at the moment to definitively confirm that the overuse of video games is an addiction by APA definition.
The APA defines addiction as “a brain disease that manifests itself in the use of obsessive-compulsive substances despite harmful consequences.” This definition rules out the possibility of any addictions to behavior.
Another source of skepticism among scientists is the fact that only a very small proportion of gamers ever show any signs of a disorder especially the specific symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance. For this reason, some scientists and researchers believe that the overuse of video games is a legitimate habit or symptom of another disorder rather than an addiction.
Game Disorder: Why Video Games Can Be Addicting
Even without an officially diagnosed disorder, some people sacrifice their life work and marriage to spend 60 hours each week playing video games. Some children and teens are so attached to computer games that they threaten their parents when they are told to put down the cattle.
Many of us have read about such cases or experienced experiences that show that video games have an addictive power.
While anecdotal evidence is not scientific research, real-world experience, and growing awareness of other behavioral addictions explain why the concept of computer video game addiction is becoming increasingly accepted. The World Health Organization recently added “gaming disorder” to its official list of diseases.
It is important to understand that the length of time someone spends in a video game does not necessarily indicate that they have an addiction. After all, someone can spend many hours in a video game just because he enjoys it but he can also stop without much difficulty.
On the other hand, a person may have an addiction to a video game if he can not stop playing it even though he knows he should. They are aware that the video game makes them neglect their family friends work and education but they continue to play anyway because they feel best behind the scenes.
When someone “needs” to play video games to be happy and feel unhappy when they are not playing it indicates that they have a real disorder just like alcoholism or addicted to prescription drugs.
Withdrawal symptoms usually characterize disorders in substance use. While withdrawal from video games is still being investigated the researchers documented possible withdrawal symptoms from video games including fatigue headaches, insomnia, aggressive emotions, and a strong desire to play video games again.
Furthermore, video games affect the brain in the same way as addictive drugs: they trigger the release of dopamine, a chemical that strengthens behavior. For this reason playing video games can be an addictive stimulus. These facts suggest that video game addiction may be possible.
What Causes Video Game Addiction?
Studies show that most people who struggle with the symptoms of video game addiction play multiplayer games online.
MMPORGs are especially addictive because they offer an endless adventure within a fantasy world where players can live other lives as a new person. They provide an opportunity to escape from reality and leave behind real-world problems.
Moreover, MMORPG and other multiplayer games host large player communities in which many people feel welcome, valued, and useful (something they may not often feel in the real world).
An MMORPG player can join clans to help other players make friends and development status. Although the definition is virtual the relationship is real. For the actor, the feeling of being a part of something and having a role to play can be important and meaningful especially if the actor is not experiencing social satisfaction in real life.
For many people with video game addiction, the game is not just “for fun”. This is their social life and the mainstay of their self-esteem. Existing video games on social media closely overlap with social media addiction, another behavioral disorder that thrives on the sense of acceptance.
The desire for escapism and social acceptance may not be the only cause of video game addiction.
Many studies have sought to establish a link between computer video games addicting and other mental health disease problems. One study from 2016 shows that people who are depressed and dealing with avoidant problems are more likely to become addicted to video games.