Are you Game?

Gaming Can Lead to Addiction


Junior Aaron Fenton Feeds His Video Game Addiction

Emma Saltsman, Staff Writer

Video games have been part of our lives for decades. There’s always an uproar when the newest game comes out and people wait hours outside of stores just for a chance to purchase them. Are video games becoming too addictive?

Many people associate addiction with substances such as drugs and alcohol, but addiction can be associated with behaviors as well. An addictive behavior can include needing more of an object and – if they do not get more of the object – the person can become irritable and moody.

Doctors say they have seen the symptoms of addictive behavior with gaming, mostly in young people.

“They become angry, violent, or depressed,” said Kimberly Young, PsyD, clinical director of the Center for On-Line Addiction and author of Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction — and a Winning Strategy for Recovery. “If [parents] take away the computer, their child sits in the corner and cries, refuses to eat, sleep, or do anything.”

Unlike substance addiction, the psychological aspect of video game addiction is uncertain. Research has found that gaming or gambling can elevate a person’s dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that makes a person feel and do things. Too much dopamine can cause an addiction because of too much feeling for an object.

For gamers, it’s the fantasy world that becomes addicting. The fantasy world becomes more appealing than real life, and too much gaming can become bad for a persons’ health. For example, children who play four to five hours per day have no time for socializing, homework, or sports. This can lead to a 25-year-old having the emotional intelligence of a 15-year-old or worse. In older addicts, compulsive gaming can jeopardize jobs or relationships.

Spending excessive time gaming is not necessarily an addiction. The warning signs of a gaming addiction includes things like thinking of playing GTA when you should be writing a paper, or playing a video game to escape real life problems.

Video game addictions are more difficult to fix than substance addictions because no one has ever gone to jail for being to addicted to FIFA or Black OPs. Video games can be entertaining…but at the sake of a person’s health.