Gaming Addiction & How To Curb Its Ill Effects
Millions of people enjoy playing video games around the world. For the vast majority, gaming never causes any mental health issues. However, for a few people the gaming experience starts out as a hobby and quickly accelerates into a dangerous habit. Behavioral addictions like gaming and gambling aren’t usually physically dangerous, but their impact can be as severe as any other addiction. The World Health Organization classified gaming disorder as a mental health condition. The WHO defined it as :” in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences“
Once in a while we hear cases in the media telling stories of gaming addiction that led to serious consequences. Such drastic cases are rare but can lead to very serious consequences. The real problem with the gaming addiction is that it gets intrusive with the three basic elements ensuring health: rest, exercise and nutrition. Gamers tend to sit stationary for long periods of time without any physical exercise. Instead, one could be involved in real physical activities such as walking, jogging, biking, or playing any sports. Studies reveal a link between gaming addiction and risky eating habits. Such eating habits may lead to obesity and other nutrition disorders. Sleep deprivation is the most common consequence of gaming addiction and can seriously impact mental and heart health. It can also have severe consequences on the metabolic system, especially the blood sugar levels and blood pressure. The physical neglect can cause quite a lot of damage. Video game addictions mostly stem from a mixture of biological, social, psychological, and cultural factors. For instance, a video-gamer might be drawn to straightforward goals offered by the games. Such purpose-driven life might be lacking in the gamer’s real world. Similarly, the addicted gamers find gratification and social solace from gaming. In real world experiences, the gamer might find socializing difficult. Games use it for self-deceit. The addicted gamers ignore more important functions of life for an additional game or level. They end up hurting their integrity each time they sacrifice real-world demands to their gaming addiction.
Interestingly, in certain cases gaming can be helpful and can even assist in healthy outcomes—especially when used in pain management or for psychological or physical therapies. Although mindfulness and moderation are important in those cases. Mindfulness lets us analyze whether the game has any practical worth in our real lives. If games bring in improvement, relief, and joy, they are well worth it. However, mindfulness is the key: for instance, while playing a game you should ask yourself if you’d benefit more by taking a walk or playing sports.
Studies reveal that mindfulness changes the physiology of the brain and we become more alive. That helps us evaluate the addictive nature of games. Hence, mindfulness is a key strategy that can help us curb gaming addictions.