Video game and internet addiction is starting to become more prevalent among people of all ages in the United States. Experts think that playing video and computer games may increase dopamine levels in a similar way to gambling. There may also be an "escape" component to video game and internet addiction; people may use it to escape their life or to feel better about themselves. Spending too much time playing video games may affect aspects of a person's life. It could interfere with social aspects of life, and may make it difficult for people to meet others in the real world. It can also affect people's jobs, relationships, grades, and other parts of life.
Signs of video game and internet addiction include:
- Thinking about gaming during other activities
- Playing for increasing amounts of time
- Spurts of more than four hours
- Lying to others to conceal the amount of time spent playing games
- Feeling irritable when trying to cut down on gaming
Treatment for video game and internet addiction is similar to that of other addictions, but with one important difference. Because computers are an aspect of everyday life, gaming addicts must learn to use computers responsibly, in a similar way that a food addict must learn to live with food. It is also necessary to teach gamers how to have real-life excitement as opposed to online excitement.
If you or a friend may have a video or computer game addiction, it is important to seek treatment. Prolonging treatment may make the addiction worse. If you are a UK student and you would like to speak with a professional, please call the Counseling Center at 859-257-8701 or UHS Behavioral Health 859-323-5511 to schedule an appointment.