Just plain good times
For many playing video games serves as a stress reliever after days of hard work. It gives diverts their minds temporarily to get some creative juices flowing. For many, playing their favorite video game in a couple of hours will do. However, there’s an increasing number of population that’s really being hooked in video games.
When we talk about addiction, drugs and alcohol always come to mind. But what the public does not know is that addiction can be anything. Addiction is not just about how many drinks you have or how you take your prescription drugs. Addiction is about people and health. It’s about the brain’s reward system and how it genetically pursues its rewards despite the consequences.
Video gaming as an addiction
Once addiction affected the reward system of the brain, it alters the neurological structures of it and it compulsively conditions to seek its drug. Because of such definition, the World Health Organization recently categorizes video gaming as a new disorder – a new mental health disorder. As someone becomes involved in video gaming, they pursue it continuously despite its serious health consequences.
As video gaming becomes more popular, many are getting into it. What’s even more disturbing are children are also becoming hooked into it. With their developing minds, they are more susceptible to the devastating effects of video gaming.
“If you’re a parent of school-age kids, you might have had the same occasional thought I have: “Is that all you do all day — play video games?”
Clearly, I don’t remember “gaming” nearly as often when I was their age. But back then, video games weren’t as intense, immersive and social as they are today. We enjoyed Nintendo! And we definitely didn’t feel we had a disorder, or were addicted, to playing these games.
The World Health Organization recently declared video gaming “disorder” a mental health condition. As someone in the addiction treatment field, this declaration gave me pause to consider the seriousness of video gaming disorders. What does it mean exactly when an organization like WHO makes a statement like this about gaming, and what does it reflect about addiction, and perhaps society, in general?
Most people play video games — and smartphone app-based games as well — without any notable negative consequences. So, for the majority of people, it might be difficult to understand why some others simply can’t put the controller down. But that’s no different from other sources of addiction. Many people can drink alcohol, for example, without consequence, but a significant minority cannot.”
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