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Am I Addicted to Computer Games?

Computer games can be a fun way to pass the time. They can also be educational, stress-relieving, and a good way to connect with others. Unfortunately, some individuals end up only wanting to play computer games, to the detriment of everything else in their lives. In this case, this particular hobby has turned into an addiction. But how can you tell if you are addicted to computer games?

Is Computer Game Addiction Real?

Computer game addiction

Computer game addiction is a real condition.

According to a study on Internet gaming addiction, “Under the new DSM-5 framework, Internet gaming disorder refers to the ‘persistent and recurrent use of the Internet to engage in games, often with other players, leading to clinically significant impairments or distress as indicated by five (or more) [criteria] in a 12-month period'” (NCBI). This issue can be expanded to include computer games that do not require an Internet connection but are still causing a significantly negative impact on an individual’s life.

While gaming addiction is not thought of in the way that heroin or even gambling addictions are by the general population, the former disorder is gaining wider acknowledgement by both the scientific and medical communities.

Am I Addicted to Computer Games?

If you are concerned that you might be addicted to computer games, ask yourself the questions below.

  • Am I preoccupied with gaming?
  • Does my preoccupation with this activity make it hard for me to think about other things, even when I should be?
  • Does this desire to be playing computer games cause me to perform poorly at school or work?
  • Do I ever experience withdrawal symptoms when I can’t play at the times that I want to?
    • According to the NIDA Teen, “Scientists aren’t sure video games can cause the same [withdrawal] effects” that drugs do, effects which often make users sick. However, there is a possibility that you may feel extremely irritable, depressed, or angry when you cannot engage in this activity.
  • Do I feel that I need to spend more time playing computer games than I used to in order to get my fix?
  • Do I lose track of time when I play?
  • Am I unable to control the time for which I play?
  • Have I stopped being interested in any other fun activities I used to enjoy?
  • Do I lie about how much time I spend gaming or lie in order to play longer?
  • Do I engage in this activity in order to cover up negative feelings of boredom, sadness, loneliness, or shyness?
    • “As a result of [a] study, a positive, meaningful, and high correlation between” gaming addiction and shyness was found (ERIC).
  • Have I experienced negative consequences associated with my excessive gaming including:
    • A breakup?
    • Loss of job?
    • Trouble at school, with grades, etc.?
    • Loss of friends?
    • Family problems?
  • Despite these issues, do I continue to play the same amount of computer games?

If you answered yes to many of the questions above, you are likely addicted to computer games. Talking to someone is the first step, and seeking treatment may be necessary if your addiction has become so severe that you feel unable to fight it on your own.