Video Game Addiction: A Mental Disorder?

videogame addiction

Mental Health Disorders come in many shapes and sizes.

While they alter many different parts of the brain, each disorder can affect a person’s ability to communicate, understand emotions, control the body and more.

One area of Mental Disorders is addictions. states:

Addiction is the repeated involvement with a substance or activity, despite the substantial harm it now causes, because that involvement was (and may continue to be) pleasurable and/or valuable.

WebMD also explains that “If the person does not get more of the substance or behavior, they become irritable and miserable”.

There are a variety of things one can be addicted to with the most popular being drugs and alcohol.

Video Game Addiction has been officially added to the list of Mental Disorders


Now the World Health Organisation (WHO) have recognised Video Gaming to also be addictive.

Many institutions welcome this news as more treatment will now be available for those with the mental disorder.

A study carried out by University of New Mexico found that as much as 15% of all gamers so signs of addictive behaviour.

Many countries, including the UK, have set up treatment centres for those needing to kick the bad habit.

In this article, we discuss:

  • Symptoms of a video game addiction
  • Why people would spend their lives with video games
  • Ways to combat a video game addiction

Symptoms of Video Game Addiction

Back view of concentrated young gamer in headphones and glasses using computer for playing game at home

Back view of concentrated young gamer in headphones and glasses using computer for playing game at home

Just like any other addiction, there are many warning signs that friends and loved ones will start to notice.

Video Game Addiction has emotional and physical symptoms.

Victims will seperate themselves from people in the real world in order to dedicate more time with a controller in hand.

Not only that, they will be restless and irritable when unable to play a game. They will frequently be preoccupied thinking about playing games.

They will also lie about the amount of video games they have played to family and friends.

People addicted to games will sacrifice their personal hygiene in order to persevere with a game. The repetitive motion of the hands can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – numbness and pain in the hand – as well as eye strain and fatigue.

There are many other health issues that can follow from extensive use of video games.

One Gamer died from Deep Vein Thrombosis – a blood clot in his leg – which was caused by his lack of movement while playing video games for long periods of time.

The DVT lead to a pulmonary embolism: a blockage in his lungs. That doesn’t sound like fun at all.

This isn’t the first time someone has died while playing video games!

Reasons Players Dedicate Themselves to Games

They are a number of factors that might persuade people to dedicate their lives to video games rather than other activities:

Video Games can offer a sense of achievement that isn’t achievable in real life.

Achievement cover

Have you ever rescued a princess on the moon while defeating a spiked, flame-throwing giant? No, I didn’t think so.

However, Video Games are the key to experiencing out of the world situations that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

You can do so many things within a game that no one could ever dream of.

Linking to this is the idea of escapism:

Video Games are great for escapism. 


Say you had a physical disability that confined you to a chair.

While you might not be able to run in real life, video games could allow you to become an olympic sprinter competing for your country.

Or say science wasn’t your forte at school.

While you might not pass as a scientist, video games would allow you to take part in missions in deep space without all of the rigorous training.

When things are troubling you in the real world, video games allow you to temporarily ignore all of those issues.

So video games allow you to reach for unimaginable goals that would be possible in the real world otherwise and they allow you to forget about any problems you may be facing in the real world.

How to Deal with Video Game Addiction

A few questions you need to ask yourself if you’re wondering if you have a video game addiction:

  • Do you frequently lose sleep over video games?
  • Are you spending more money on games than on important items like food and bills?
  • Do you ever get so frustrated at losing in a video game that you break things in real life?
  • Have you ever missed a day at work or school to play video games?

If you’re answering yes to all questions, it’s likely you have an addiction.

Fortunately, there are simple steps to help you cut down your time with gaming without having to go to rehab.

Find Other Interests


Finding other hobbies and talents will be a simple way to distract you from video games.

Pick a hobby that also has achievements and goals that you can reach for.

As well as this, you could pick an interest to share with a friend or family member. That can help with motivating you to follow the hobby.

Get a Job/ Go to School

Finding a job that you’re interested and in and would enjoy is perfect for tackling your addiction.

Not only will you find more structure has been added to your day, you’ll also being making money rather than spending it.

Alternatively, you could focus your attention on education and receive qualifications to help you aim for a career you might want in the future.

This would also be a great way to make new friends and find interests you never thought you would have liked in the past.

Make a Timetable Allowing Time for Video Games

Rather than removing video games all together, it would be much easier to allocate time slots in the day to play games.

That way, you can still enjoy your favourite games as well as making sure you stay hygenic, do some exercise, socialise, eat properly, and earn money through work.

Remember to Take a Break


It’s important while playing games that you take a break every hour for at least 15 mins.

This will give a chance for you to stretch your legs and ensure circulation of blood is all ok. Also, when playing video games, you tend to blink less so your eyes can become more dry and suffer from eye strain.

Therefore, it’s good to give your eyes a break.

Assess your Finances

We all know video gaming is expensive.

So, you should plan how your money is going to be used each week or each money.

Set aside money for rent, food, bills and other important things. You can then set a budget for how much you have left for games.

The best thing to do is to limit yourself to a certain number of games a month. If you were to buy one expensive title a month, then you could set aside £50 to fund that and no more.

Did you suffer from a video game addiction?

Let us know how you overcame your addiction!

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