Gaming addiction has been featured quite a bit in the news recently and is becoming an increasing issue, especially among young people. To the point where there are specialist clinics in countries around the world which help treat gaming addicts. Only recently was ‘Gaming Disorder’ considered an official diagnosis and mental health issue.
This is happening to many gamers for several reasons. When playing video games, such a large amount of dopamine (the ‘happy’ chemical) is released. So, if you’re feeling good for all the hours you game for, of course you are going to want to keep doing it! What doesn’t help either, is how quickly time passes when gaming. There have been many times I have thought I had only been about 30-40 minutes playing, when really, I have checked the time and it has been about 2 hours. It is such a huge distraction, especially if you have a lot of stressful things going on.
Here’s a few tips that I stick to myself, to help make sure gaming doesn’t take over:
Set an exact time each day which you can dedicate to gaming. Make sure it isn’t too long and perhaps try to plan it for nearer the end of the day when everything necessary has been done.
Take regular breaks! As you may have noticed at the start of most games, they advise you to take a break every hour for about 15 minutes. There are many physical side effects of gaming, e.g. nausea, headaches, that could perhaps be controlled just by taking a short break and walking around, maybe get a drink/snack too.
Don’t limit yourself to just one hobby, being gaming. Perhaps find something more outdoor based, and something that also gets you socialising with friends/family. It can start to get easy to cancel plans to play your new favourite game if you’re not careful!
Many people appear to develop a gaming addiction due to other problems in their life. For me personally, it has and still is an escape for when life is stressful and making me feel rubbish. Even though it’s hard, try to tackle, if there is one, the issue at hand. Try not to avoid it by using all your spare time on gaming as in the long run, it isn’t effective.