We live in an age where a simple thought gives you what you want almost immediately. Particularly in the world of gaming and virtual reality. This is a place where you can access something you crave without the rigors of physical relocation or patience. A value, that while very important to the human psyche, is no longer required. In fact, it is criticized and gaming industry business models cater to that.
This access to gaming has paved the way for ever-growing addiction.
Gaming has a long-standing foothold in the social world of human interaction. It has transformed from a simple scenario of very finite gameplay to an infinite online world of imagination. It can be incredibly beneficial as a means to decompress from life’s stresses.
But this ability to separate from reality into a world of fantasy, camaraderie, and community also tugs at the inner workings of the human mind that release high levels of dopamine. That feeling can be addictive. An addiction so strong that is known worldwide as Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). IGD is presently included as a condition for study in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
Research shows that the addiction to gaming is growing, particularly in MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). This type of online activity makes up 25% of the multi-billion dollar gaming industry. With the ability of game platforms to deliver new content, versions, characters, and adventures in an instant, it may only get worse.
The gaming world appeals to all types of people. Including the introverted, emotionally sensitive, and socially distant who see this as a place of acceptance. But for many of this personality type, it becomes the only way to handle life situations. In a manner that only an addiction counselor can address.
Addiction is a tough road to travel and it is a perpetual behavior that, under the right supervision with a certified addiction counselor, can be overcome and that person can learn to traverse these addictive behaviors by finding ways outside of gaming to have those same feelings.
This constant desire to feel understood, welcomed, and disconnected from reality through these platforms can lead to the disarray of other aspects of that individual’s life. Neglect in areas of importance that only then feed this further need. In any other recreational setting, playing games to feel this way is not considered unhealthy. When it becomes a behavioral addiction that supersedes school, family, and life, it is time to start noticing the signs.
Counselors and other addiction professionals describe gaming addiction as an amount of play that consumes that person’s primary source of coping with life. They don’t have another outlet to deal with the situations surrounding them. They build a strong emotional attachment to this particular activity and, as a result, other parts of their life start to show signs of this neglect. It can cause depression, aggression, physical disorders as well as exacerbate existing conditions such as ADD. It increases emotional and cognitive difficulties as well as depression and anxiety. These long term effects are as progressive as is the addiction.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these addiction problems, are spending an excessive amount of time gaming online, on the computer, in casinos, or other places where gaming is prevalent or showing signs of depression and isolation due to this activity, reach out to an addiction counselor such as Nancy.
Contact Nancy Hilsenrath, LCSW, CASAC, SAP for info. about counseling near you.
EMAIL NANCY or call (718) 551-2777
3 COUNSELING LOCATIONS: West Hempstead, NY, Douglaston, NY, Hewlett, NY