Symptoms of Video Game Addiction
There is a suite of behaviors that could be called symptoms of video game addiction. They mirror symptoms of other addictions without the withdrawal component and are similar to compulsive disorders. A compulsion is a behavior or ritual that you feel driven to act out again and again. This has also been described as an impulse control disorder.
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Video game makers have been accused of tapping into behavioral modules with reward schedules designed to elicit compulsive behaviors. Game designers use applied psychology to make their games more interesting and keep players playing.
Following this logic, the primary symptom of video game addiction (including online, multi-player games) is the amount of time spent on the game. When this begins to interfere with other social obligations and pursuits, playing has begun to slide toward compulsion and addictive behavior.
Signposts of video game addiction
There is no standard, but one rule given is that if a person plays more than 24 hours a week, while giving up other activities, they are at risk.
Other symptoms and signs of video game addiction might be:
- A person who spends money they cannot afford for virtual goods or memberships in a gaming community.
- They develop relationships online with other gamers that trump real life relationships.
- Gain or lose significant weight due to playing.
- Play in inappropriate circumstance – at work or in lieu of taking a friend’s phone call.
- Change regular sleep patterns to play – all-night binges.
- Loss of interest in other activities that they once enjoyed.
- An inability to see game playing as ‘just a game’ and tying in self worth to their success in a virtual world.