Is video game addiction a real thing? Or is it just a label we are putting on people in order to excuse our excessive behavior again? For example, people have tried to label just about anything as an addiction, including overeating, sex, gambling, and so on. Is it right to keep adding new labels and identifying these things as being addictive, or should we draw a line somewhere?
Can you be addicted to video games?
I would say that the answer is going to boil down to “yes,” you can get addicted to gaming. It becomes a bit of an escape for people, and it is a point of obsession on which to fix their minds. Many games also have a reward based system in them for continuous play, so there is a real tendency to keep pushing to play more and more.
The worst, most addictive games are the big online multiplayer games. These are the type where you control a character in a virtual world and spend an awful lot of time building your character up to be stronger and stronger. The most famous example of this type of game is “World of Warcraft.” There are many people who have told stories of how they have been addicted to games such as this for the past couple of years, and have basically devoted their entire life to the game during that time.
They might play anywhere from 16 to 20 hours per day. They stop socializing, stop going to school, stop networking with their friends, and focus their life entirely on the game world. In my opinion, this state of being characterizes true addiction. There are real consequences from this level of obsession. People have lost jobs, ruined their lives financially, and even been divorced due to their obsession with gaming.
Should we blame the games? Should we blame the game makers? Of course not. That would be like blaming the alcohol itself for the disease of alcoholism. And obviously we do not do that, because our society continues to sell alcohol every day.
No, someone who is hooked on gaming could just as easily be hooked on reading, or television, or gambling, or sex, and so on. It is just one outlet out of many.
The problem is not in the substance itself, or in the game. The problem is that the individual is unhealthy and is prone to obsession. They are trying to fill a spiritual, emotional, and social need in their life by filling it up with gaming. This is fine if it can happen in moderation. Obviously it is detrimental in excess.
Many alcoholics can gamble without being “addicted” to it. Likewise, video game addiction is something of a niche problem that will only affect a select few.
The solution for this type of addiction is the same as any other, of course: creating a new life in recovery. Abstinence plus positive action. Utilize a holistic approach and strive for personal growth. This strategy can conquer any type of addiction.