Computer game addiction, a type of gaming addiction, is a common problem among students. Game addiction manifests itself in compulsive fascination with computer games, and most often – network games. Gambling addiction can easily become a person with an immature psyche, so the majority of addicts (40%) are teenagers and young people. The same applies to the lack of self-control – because during the game nothing terrible will happen, and you can give free rein to your feelings.
Symptoms of gambling addiction
There is no problem if you pay someone to do research paper for you, so you could play for a couple of hours after a hard week. There is still time for studying, friends, and other hobbies that are not displaced from life. But if you do have doubts, the first thing to do is to analyze your behavior and make conclusions. Psychologists say that the behavior of gamblers is similar to that of other addicts:
- A person spends all his free (and even sometimes not free) time playing, and systematically, not periodically. He cannot switch to studies, household chores, or other hobbies – for them playing becomes much more exciting than going to the movies with friends or doing household chores.
- The real world takes second, if not third place – there is a distortion of reality in a person’s eyes, and they no longer want to leave the virtual life.
- The game becomes the only way to drown out the negative emotions and alarm bells of mental problems. Any problems and anxieties can be drowned out with another level of your favorite game, and in between sessions the negative feelings are exacerbated.
- The person loses control over time. The addict forces him or herself to spend more and more hours on the game, at the expense of basic needs.
When a person is not addicted to gambling, they can plan how much time and money they will spend on the hobby. The person is in control during the game and can stop it at any time. In contrast, the addict cannot stop until his psychological need to play disappears. Alas, without professional help and support from loved ones, it will be many times harder for a person to cope with this problem.
Causes of gaming addiction
Years spent training game designers and developers do not go in vain: it is their merit that you can get addicted to the game “in one go”. Of course, there is no denying that it is a great game activity that saves a person from boredom and a boring weekend, but you need to see the line between help and harm, which is almost equal measure brings a person a game.
It is in virtual reality that a person, deprived of any positive emotions in life, can easily imitate them – because in a game it is much easier to get the role of an important hero of the story than in life. And the lack of communication is easily compensated for by chat rooms in online games, where people communicate not only on topics of interest to the person but also consider him as a full and necessary player and part of the team with a common goal, which is important for the user – because his real environment does not treat him that way.
And the colorful design and interesting storyline with gunfights, conspiracies, and battles only help to quickly join the team. A person has new problems – how to quickly defeat the boss or earn extra points for pumping the character. Real problems that await a person outside the online world become so insignificant for him that it seems it is even possible to do nothing with them… But Monday comes and you have to go to the lectures again. What do you think of the idea – of not leaving such an interesting world at all? And you can no longer give up on this miracle of salvation on your own.
This is not the end of the game designers’ tricks – one of the most effective tricks in the development of the game’s plot is the “dopamine loop” algorithm. Some games involve a certain cycle of actions, after completing which the player is rewarded – in the form of points, pluses to the rating among the players, and other goodies. It is the reward that motivates a person to play more and more because its expectation and receipt affect the increased production of dopamine, which is the hormone of pleasure.
How to cope with addiction on your own?
It is difficult to determine by yourself whether you have a game addiction, and even more difficult is to get rid of it all alone.
Of course, at any moment you can simply take all the games off your computer, delete the accounts and disconnect the Internet (you can even go to the woods and live as a hermit), but instead of relief people can only get anxiety and aggression and, in the end, breakdown, so you should not even try.
The best method of treating addiction to computer games in adults and children is psychotherapy with specialists. It will help not only to overcome the addiction, but also to find out what its cause is, which may help not only now, but also in the future – with other problems.
But start the fight, of course, with yourself – while working on yourself, it is worth learning to recognize the tricks of the developers and the traps of your mind. To do this, it is enough to be able to stop in time and switch from the game to other activities.
To accomplish this, you need to think and decide: What would you do if you couldn’t play (except panic, of course). Doing chores at home, hiring the best cheap essay writing service in order to see friends at a cafe, go to the park, or play the guitar – anything that doesn’t require a long preparation that you can do right now. This is important because the human brain is designed so that even with all the logic of the situation – going for a run is much more useful than another level! – it will consider what is easier to do, so you can not immediately change your brain.
You should start with very small breaks from the game – for example, you can set an alarm and do a couple of sports exercises or read a page or two of a book at regular intervals. The most important thing is to gradually convince yourself and your brain that it is possible to get positive emotions not only after completing a difficult level.
How do you help a friend cope with addiction?
But what to do if you suddenly discovered the symptoms of gambling addiction in your loved one? There are several effective methods of treating another person’s gambling addiction.
Gaming is a way of abstracting from reality, which prevents a person from working on his problems, and the longer someone plays, the harder it will be for them to get rid of their addiction. At the very beginning of this long journey, to move forward in the right direction, it is necessary to understand the reasons for avoiding reality. They are individual for everyone, but there are commonalities between them. Poor stress tolerance, slow socialization, and even sometimes mental health issues are all factors to consider when building a relationship with an addict. So what to do?
People around should help the person in any possible way during this difficult period, and the first thing to do is to create comfortable conditions for them to exist in reality, so that they realize that it is not always necessary to return to the virtual to feel good.
It is important to let the person understand that their life belongs to them, to allow them to make some decisions. Dependent people leave the real world because in the game it is much easier to fulfill themselves and make important decisions.
It is necessary to help the person find some new hobbies, in addition to games, to change priorities in life, which will gradually normalize their mood, and they will be able to move on. Positive thinking is an important factor.
You should always remember that each person has individual feelings and needs, and to exert any influence on them you should be very careful, especially in such a difficult period for them. Being surrounded by people who have already been down this road will also be helpful.
Even though an addict in the early stages is mostly concerned about personal thoughts, they need to have the opportunity to be significantly involved in family and friends’ lives so they feel valued. You have to pay attention to their attempts to get rid of their addiction, even if they are not always successful – the main thing is that they see the problem and work on it.
Game addiction is hard to get rid of, but it’s real. The main thing is to want to do it. Of course, an addicted person will choose self-realization in a game, where he or she will feel protected and needed, rather than in the real world with problems. That is why it is important to show the addicted person that they are not alone and that they have people who are ready to support them.