How to Fight Video Game Addiction
Does Video Game Addiction Exist?
They say with any addiction that the first step to recovery is understanding you have a problem. However, something like video game addiction is easy to fall into and not recognize. I personally was addicted to video games for years and ended up struggling to make my way out of it. I didn't even realize I had a problem until friends started getting really angry that I wasn't showing up for anything. In the end I promised myself that any time someone asked me to go somewhere with them I would have that as the highest priority over video games and finally broke free.
I still love video games of course but feel I have broken free from something that was dragging me down. Here I will bring up some behaviors to watch for and some ways to start breaking free from video game addiction.
My Video Game Addiction
It started quite quickly. I had only played games like The Oregon Trail and other lower quality computer games, but then in High School I got a better computer that could run higher quality games such as World of Warcraft. I had been interested in this game so I bought it and began playing it. Needless to say this was quite a jump in technology and I was enthralled. I started off slow but started playing more and more. I began thinking about what I would do when I got home from whatever. I stopped doing homework. I stopped talking with friends outside of class. I slowly started cutting out everything but the game.
As my straight As fell my grandmother decided something was wrong and that I had to stop playing on my computer. Of course this only made it so I had to hide my habit more. I began to play through the night and stopped sleeping. This just led to more questions because though I got homework done i was constantly tired and grades were still slipping. Was I being abused? Was I ill? Depression? Something had to be wrong.
I disregarded everything being said to me about the subject until I saw a TV commercial about addiction and a lot of the symptoms matched what was happening. It was what started me wondering if I had a problem or not.
Certain Suspicious Symptoms
People that are addicted to something often do not realize it. - Phrases like "I don't need to play, its just fun." If it is addiction this will often unravel if something comes up and interrupts game play. This can be said to anyone or to yourself but always ends in irritation if an interruption occurs.
Addiction leads to shame.
- Even if you aren't aware of it yourself, addiction can lead to shame. I often was trying to hide my game playing and redirect discussions to other things. I would often lie about things I had to do in order to get more time to play which just made the situation worse.
Constant thought about something could be a sign of addiction.
- I was constantly planning on what I would do when was able to play the game. I was distracted and it made my life go down in quality by lowering my grades and making friends tired of being put off.
People suffering from addiction would be angered at it being withheld.
- When my video game was threatened I usually got really angry and even threw tantrums.
The Road to Recovery
An infomercial happened to point out something I did not know about myself. I was shocked and amazed. However I realized this was something that I needed to know about myself and change. It started with a confession to myself and after that a confession to my mother and people I had been ignoring. I slowly started playing less and less until I was only playing an hour or two a day and put in my self imposed rules about never putting games above real people.
Of course it was not some magical switch that flipped at will. I had to struggle with it a bit. I still love video games of course and play them constantly but I know I can put them down whenever I want. It is quite liberating. I suggest if anyone you know (or yourself) has an addiction you consider seeking help if you think you cant do it on your own.
If you do feel that you are struggling with any addiction there are several things that you should consider. Firstly, why you want to change. This can help you a lot - I wanted a change for the better for my life. Other reasons could be love of family, love of friends, or even simple things like being able to have a job and buy stuff. Secondly you might want to get a therapist or even a good friend that you can talk with. Lastly, if it is a dangerous addiction you will want to call a help line and/or a good friend as soon as possible.
If you need support, please explore: http://www.helplinecenter.org/