Gaming Addiction:
More Than Just A Fun Past-Time


Gaming Addiction Treatment

It is healthy to have hobbies or activities that you enjoy doing, such as gaming online with friends or alone. However, it can be hard to tell when this hobby has become an addiction, especially as it can be a social activity. 

Despite gaming having been around for about 50 years, it is only recently that studies have started to investigate possible harmful side-effects. Knowing whether or not you or your loved one has a gaming addiction can help you to address the problem before it does real harm.

At Good Hope, we understand what to look for to successfully treat a gaming addiction.


What Is A Gaming Addiction?


A gaming addiction (also known as “Gaming Disorder”, “Internet Gaming Disorder” or “Video Game Addiction”) is defined as “the problematic, compulsive use of video games that results in significant impairment to an individual’s ability to function in various life domains over a prolonged period of time”. 

Such disorders can be diagnosed when you engage in gaming activities at the cost of fulfilling daily responsibilities or pursuing other interests, without consideration of the possible negative consequences.

who is at risk

Who Is The Most At Risk Of Developing A Gaming Addiction?

Genetics, environmental and social stressors all play a role in developing a gaming addiction. There are certain risk factors that could contribute to the development of a gaming disorder:

  • A feeling of having been neglected
  • Low self-esteem
  • Using computer games to manage moods
  • Anxiety/neuroticism
  • Having an aggressive personality
  • Depression
  • Having a pessimistic outlook on life
  • Experiencing feelings of loneliness
  • Having been subjected to authoritarian parenting
  • Having social anxiety
  • Having a lack of empathy
  • Experiencing feelings of isolation
  • Gender (generally more men than women are affected. However, this is not to say that women will not be affected)

Not every person who is interested in gaming has an addiction, but knowing what to look for can help to identify someone who is unknowingly suffering.

digging deeper

Is A Gaming Addiction Tied To Mental Illness?


There is some evidence which suggests that gaming addiction is linked to mental illnesses such as Anxiety, Depression, Social Phobia, and especially Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

ADHD symptoms particularly include impulsivity and conduct problems, and increase the risk of an individual developing a gaming disorder.

recognise the signs

What Are The Behavioural Signs To Look For When It Comes To Gaming Addiction?

While the behaviours might not seem like an addiction, there are nine criteria for characterising gaming disorder:

  • Pre-occupation. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about games even when you are not playing, or planning when you can play next?
  • Withdrawal. Do you feel restless, irritable, moody, angry, anxious or sad when attempting to cut down, stop or when you are unable to play?
  • Tolerance build-up. Do you feel the need to play for increasing amounts of time, play more exciting games, or use more powerful equipment to get the same amount of excitement as before?
  • Reduction or stopping. Do you feel that you should play less, but are unable to cut back on the amount of time you spend gaming?
  • Giving up other activities. Do you lose interest in or reduce participation in other recreational activities due to gaming?
  • Continuing despite problems. Do you continue to play games even though you are aware of negative consequences, such as not getting enough sleep, being late to responsibilities, spending too much money, having arguments with others, or neglecting important duties?
  • Deceiving. Do you lie to family, friends or others about how much you game, or try to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you game?
  • Escaping adverse moods. Do you play games to escape from or forget about problems, or uncomfortable feelings such as guilt, anxiety, helplessness or depression?
  • Risking relationships. Do you risk significant relationships, or opportunities because of gaming?

gaming addiction causes

What Are The Causes Of Gaming Addiction?

Video games are designed to be addictive, using state-of-the-art behavioural psychology to keep you hooked. Games are immersive experiences that provide you with a high amount of dopamine.

It is easy to play for hours and hours, without even noticing that a minute has passed.

They allow you to escape the problems and issues of real life, and you can see measurable progress in the game. They are sometimes social (online multiplayer games) and create an environment where you feel safe and in control.

This is unlike the real world of today, and the game provides a place to escape to, leading to more repetition and further immersion into the fantasy word. There is little doubt that the software developed drives a compulsion for repeated engagement – “just one more…”.

connection to substance abuse

Do Those With A Gaming Addiction Have Other Substance Abuse Problems?

As gaming addiction is linked to depression, staying awake for long periods of time, irritability and anxiety, individuals will often start using substances as a way to manage these.

Many gamers will begin using stimulants to allow them to play for longer periods of time. As tolerance to the drugs builds, more will be used to create the same initial effects.

treatment options

What Are The Treatment Options For Gaming Addiction?

With the right addiction help, you will be able to overcome your gaming addiction and manage it successfully. The treatment options available for this process addiction include the following:

Inpatient Rehabilitation Programme

The inpatient gaming addiction treatment programme at Rustenburg Clinic, our partner rehabilitation centre in South Africa, provides a safe and structured environment for those who are suffering from addiction to recover in. This is not always a required treatment but it can help gaming addicts to avoid any gaming opportunities and helps to control the impulses and compulsions.

Sober Accommodation

Sober accommodation allows those with a gaming disorder a place to start reintegrating back into society. It offers a recovery-oriented environment with more responsibility and independence allowed to residents. For those who feel ready to move forward to a life without gaming and who know they have gained their self-control, this is an ideal solution.

a healthier, happier life

Regain Your Life

Gaming addiction might not be easily seen because gaming is such a common hobby, but it can lead to destructive behaviour. With Good Hope, you can overcome this addiction and live a healthier, happier life.