In recent years, the rise of technology and the increase of addictive games on various platforms have increased recognition of gaming addiction as a significant concern. Gaming addiction, or internet gaming disorder, refers to excessive and compulsive engagement in video games, interfering with daily life activities.
We aim to provide an overview of gaming addiction, its effects, common signs, and treatment options available in rehab.
Why are video games so addictive?
Video games are intentionally designed to be addictive, incorporating elements that appeal to us psychologically, socially, and neurologically.
Here are some reasons why video games can be highly addictive:
- Reward System: Video games often employ rewards such as achievements, earning points and levelling up, which trigger dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reinforcement, creating a sense of satisfaction and motivating you to continue playing.
- Social Interaction: Many video games offer features encouraging social interaction and collaboration with other players. The social aspect can create a sense of belonging, companionship, and competitiveness, meeting your social interaction needs.
- Escapism: Video games provide an immersive and captivating virtual world that allows you to escape from real-life problems or negative emotions. Engaging in exciting adventures can be addicting and give the illusion of temporary control, accomplishment, and excitement.
- Physiological tricks: Game developers strategically implement design elements such as time-limited events, spontaneous rewards and “loot box” mechanics, creating unpredictability and urgency, making games more engaging and potentially addictive. These design elements often mimic gambling and tap into the brain’s reward system, contributing to compulsive gaming behaviour.
- Personal predispositions: Although many people enjoy video games without developing an addiction, some may be more vulnerable to excessive gaming due to their backgrounds, such as underlying mental health issues, lack of fulfilling real-life experiences, or difficulties regulating their gaming habits.
Gaming addiction symptoms
Since playing video games is a normal part of society in this technological age, it can be difficult to truly know if you are addicted to gaming and whether you need to consider gaming addiction treatment.
Here are some potential signs to look out for:
- Neglecting personal hygiene (e.g., not changing clothes, not showering)
- Becoming aggressive when confronted on the frequency of gaming
- Spending extended periods thinking about gaming
- Cancelling social plans or work events in favour of gaming
- Hiding the amount of time spent gaming
You can quickly become stuck in a cycle of deceiving yourself into thinking your behaviour is healthy and may be in denial about your addiction, so it is important to seek professional help or look into rehab if you relate to the symptoms of gaming addiction.
Treating gaming addictions at Oasis Bradford
Overcoming your gaming addiction will require a number of different approaches that Oasis Bradford rehab can expertly navigate.
Some examples include the following;
- Psychotherapy: Identifying the triggers that fuel your gaming addiction is an extremely important step within your recovery. Learning how to process your feelings and subdue the urge to sink into the world of gaming is a vital tool learnt in rehab. Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) and other therapeutic modalities, such as art therapy, holistic therapy, and trauma therapy, can help you recognise and modify your unhealthy gaming patterns, develop coping skills, manage triggers, and address underlying psychological factors contributing to addiction.
- Abstaining from gaming: A purposeful break from the digital world of gaming allows you to re-evaluate your relationship with gaming and explore healthier ways to spend your time. By refraining from playing video games, you can gain a better understanding of any negative impacts gaming may have had on your well-being or daily functioning. Gaming detox provides an opportunity for self-reflection, improved mental health, increased productivity, and the cultivation of real-life connections and experiences.
- Family support: Family therapy in rehab plays a vital role in understanding and addressing gaming addiction within the familial context. Involving loved ones in the recovery process can enhance understanding, communication, and support.
- Group involvement: Group therapy is crucial for overcoming gaming addiction when you are in rehab. It provides peer support, social skills development, psychoeducation, accountability and goal setting, relapse prevention, emotional support, and improved self-awareness. Group therapy offers a supportive community where individuals can connect with others who share similar experiences and work together towards recovery.
- Lifestyle changes: Encouraging physical activity, pursuing hobbies that are not related to online gaming, maintaining a balanced schedule, and fostering real-life social connections can help reduce excessive gaming and promote overall well-being.
Is there Aftercare for Gaming Addiction?
At Oasis Bradford, we offer free aftercare for the first year of your recovery after you leave rehab. Not only will you gain access to our Alumni programme, but we will also provide you with valuable resources to help you to stay away from gaming. For example, we can offer regular therapy sessions, helplines for gaming addiction, local meetings of people with a gaming addiction, and regular check-ups.
Recovery is widely recognised as a difficult journey, often accompanied by high relapse rates, particularly within the first year after completing rehab. It is important to prioritise ongoing support and to remember that you are not alone in your struggles.
Take the next step
Seeking professional rehab treatment is essential for anyone struggling with gaming addiction. Oasis Bradford can offer the necessary tools and guidance to regain control over your life and ultimately find a healthier balance between gaming and life.
With the right treatment, recovery from gaming addiction is possible, all you need to do is contact us today and we can begin to plan your recovery journey.