Video Gaming Addiction – A Comprehensive Guide

Gaming Addiction

Addiction is a chronic medical condition that can be treated. It involves intricate connections between brain circuits, heredity, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.

Addicts utilize substances or participate in obsessive behaviors, which they frequently continue despite negative consequences.

Video Gaming Addiction or Gaming Disorder

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) defines gaming disorder as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming.

An increasing priority is given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities.

It is the continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative effects.

Gaming disorder diagnosis requires a severe behavior pattern causing significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other areas of life.

Origin of Gaming Disorder

According to research,

  • The first commercial release of video games was in 1970 and it took 10 years for the first report of video game addiction in a psychological or psychiatric journal. The first reports were observed in 1980.
  • Ross, Finestone, and Lavin reported three cases of ‘Space Invaders preoccupation’ in the early 1980s, while Nilles documented a similar phenomenon but named it ‘computer catatonia’.
  • Soper and Miller, who worked as school counselors, arguably made the first reference to ‘video game addiction’ in 1983.

They stated the disease was similar to any other type of behavioral addiction.

It was characterized by compulsive behavioral involvement, a lack of interest in other things, and association and friendship groups centered on fellow video game addicts.

When striving to cease the behavior, it also displayed physical and emotional signs.

Causes of Gaming Addiction

Gaming disorder is caused by psychological and environmental causes here are some mentioned;


Kids usually play games more to escape from the social world. When they don’t like something or it is disturbing them they spend more and more time playing games online.

Attractive Designs

According to American Psychological Association,

Many of the gaming companies consult psychologists to help them make their products effective enough to make users addicted to them.

So that the user spends more and more time playing their games.

Anxiety and Depression

According to experts, people become addicted to gaming due to a sense of misery or a deficiency in their real lives.

These gamers build an alternate online persona, digital existence, and in-game social network to compensate for real-world loneliness, sadness, anxiety, body dissatisfaction, stress, or social phobias.

Symptoms of Gaming Addiction

Playing games more than limits initially causes the behavioral issues among kids which leads towards the major effects on their physiological as well as mental health.

Here are some common symptoms among kids with gaming disorder;

  • Laziness
  • Withdraw from physical activities
  • Playing more games to avoid real life problems
  • Loss of interest in previous hobbies
  • Unsuccessful attempts to control gaming
  • Preoccupation with video games
  • Withdrawal symptoms (sadness, anxiety, impatience) when gaming is restricted or not feasible
  • Tolerance, or the want to spend more time gaming in order to satisfy the urge
  • Inability to minimize gaming time and failed attempts to quit gaming
  • Giving up other hobbies, as well as a lack of interest in previously liked activities, as a result of gaming
  • Continuing to play despite difficulties
  • Lie to family members or others about how much time you spend gaming.
  • Gaming is used to alleviate unpleasant emotions such as shame or hopelessness.
  • Risk of compromising or losing a career or relationship as a result of gaming

Effects of Gaming Disorder

Gaming addiction has poor effects on many areas of life for game addicts. This addiction not only affects their mental as well as physical health.

Not ending here, it changes the structure of the brain as well if the user is too much addicted for a long duration of time.

Here are some major effects of gaming disorders proven by different researches. According to research gate;

Gaming Injuries

Overuse injuries, also known as repetitive stress injuries, arise when muscles and tendons are utilized frequently to the point of discomfort and inflammation.

If these injuries are not treated, they can cause numbness and weakness, as well as long-term injury.

Overuse injuries to the hands and arms are common among gamers.

Gamer’s Thumb

The condition known as “PlayStation thumb” happens when the tendons that move the thumb become inflamed.

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is the medical word for this condition, which can cause swelling and limited movement.

Gamers are also at risk for trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, which occurs when a finger becomes trapped in a bent posture as a result of chronic inflammation.


Gaming has been related to obesity in youth, and if further investigated, the same could be proven in adults.

This is because if a child spends hours every day in front of a computer, he or she isn’t getting enough exercise.

Vision Issue

Vision problems are a common complaint among gamers. Eye strain is the most common type of vision impairment, and it can induce headaches and poor concentration.

Seizures as a result of gaming have been observed, requiring box warnings.

Violent Behavior

There is also concern that exposing kids to extreme violence in video games may desensitize them to such violence, causing emotional issues and potentially leading to young people performing violent acts.

Changes in Brain Structure and Function

According to one study, excessive video gaming is linked to cognitive and neurobiological abnormalities.

Pro gamers had structural and functional changes in brain regions such as the left cingulate cortex, insula subregions, and prefrontal regions.

Mental Disorders

Playing video games causes mental health issues according to research. The main three issues it causes are

  • Loneliness
  • Social anxiety
  • Depression

Preventions of Gaming Disorder

Prevention is better than treatment. Once kids are addicted to something it is hard to get rid of that problem. Gaming disorder is also an addiction.

But if we control it in the start it is possible to get rid of this issue easily. Just implementing some techniques can make your kids have the optimal screen time which can save them from this digital havoc.

Here are some techniques;

Kids Mode

Android as well as iOS have provided the kids mode or family mode in the mobile devices. All you have to do is to set the time duration for kids to play.

You are able to choose the applications you want your kids to play so that they won’t be able to play violent games.

Increase Physical Activities

Physical activities make the body tired. Due to this kids will not be able to spend much time on the screen.

Increase Talk Time

Involve with your kids in conversations. Aware them about gaming disorder and its impacts on their health.

Provide Opportunities for Screen-Free Fun

You should provide kids ways to have fun without using screens. Here are some of the alternatives of video gaming;

  • Family outings
  • Social gatherings
  • Outdoor plays
  • Educational activities
  • Musical activities

Parental Control Softwares

Parental control softwares is the most advanced option to prevent kids from gaming addiction.

They allow you to monitor your kids online activities, applications they install etc.

It allows you to block particular sites and applications to prevent kids from gaming disorders.

Treatment for Gaming Disorder

Gaming disorder once diagnosed is needed to be treated as it affects the physical, mental and neurological health. Here are some ways to treat the gaming disorder;


There is no drug that is used directly to treat gaming disorder.According to research, Pharmacological drugs such as atomoxetine, bupropion, and methylphenidate are used to treat GD comorbidities such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression that alleviate the severity of GD symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychological treatment that has been shown to be useful for a variety of issues such as depression, anxiety disorders etc.

It is being used for the treatment of gaming disorders according to research.


Psychotherapy is another way that is used for the treatment of gaming disorder. It has shown significant results by reducing the factors that alleviate gaming disorder.

Rehabilitation Centers

Rehabilitation centers are also involved in the treatment of gaming disorders by different methods. They use the following ways to rehab the game addicts;

  • Group talks
  • Lectures
  • Physical therapies


Gaming addiction or gaming disorder has become a havoc for the little ones.This addiction where spoiling mental health also spoiling their physical health.

Parents need to take action over this problem as if it prolongs it causes serious health issues including change in the brain structure. So to avoid all these unchangeable consequences it’s better to take precautions.



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