Video game addiction may not be a diagnosable disorder, but it is a real problem for parents with German teenagers. Recent research has shown that a percentage of gamers exhibit certain signs and symptoms that can be categorised as form of addiction. The problem is that some of these symptoms can be very difficult to identify. Let’s take a look at some of the possible signs that your teen may be addicted to video games.
Common Types of Video Game Addictions
There are two basic types of video games:
- Standard games that are specifically designed to be played by a single player. It often has a clear end-objective. Generally speaking, the players get addicted to the game either to beat the highest score or to complete a campaign. For example, a game like GTA or Need for Speed. One can easily get addicted to it, in pursuit of achieving the end goal.
- Online games allow multiple players around the globe to play and interact with each other. This type of video game addiction can be even more intense. It involves a higher level of competition. Generally, games like these have no ending. Additionally, players have their own online character. People start socializing in the online world, thus allowing them to escape from reality. Teenagers who find solace in being accepted in the online community may get addicted to the experience.
Why are German Teenagers Addicted to Video Games?
There are numerous factors that can cause an individual to become addicted to video games. The way games have been designed is one of the biggest reasons. Game designers are not doing any social charity. The gaming industry is one big business. If they don’t have ways to get more people to play their games, they probably won’t make survive as a business.
This is why they design games that are extremely competitive. They keep players coming back for more because no one likes to lose. The individual may want to find that lucky streak – just like gambling at a casino. Video game addiction is somewhat similar to gambling addiction.
Top 10 Video Game Addiction Symptoms
Just like any other addiction, there are some common symptoms of video game addiction as well. If you recognize these signs in your teenager, it is high time to act. These symptoms can be physical, emotional or behavioural.
- Feelings Of Irritability Or Uneasiness
When a gaming addict is unable to play or access games, he or she gets angry or frustrated. It’s like they are itching to game. This can often result in acting aggressively against anyone who tries to stop the gamer from playing video games. If the Internet or gaming server experiences downtime, the player may become restless and extremely frustrated.
- Constantly Mentally Occupied
Any form of addiction makes the person mentally inclined towards the thought of doing things he/she is addicted to. The same applies for video game addicts as well. The person may constantly look distracted, when in fact he or she is thinking of strategies for their next online gaming session. They are pre-occupied with these thoughts until they start playing again.
- Drastic Change of Attitude Towards Other People
The virtual world of gaming can cause the person to become disconnected from reality. This can often result in drastic changes of attitude towards family members and friends. Your child may no longer attend social and family gatherings so that they can continue gaming. They may also lie about the time they spent on playing games. While they may show varying signs of hostility to their loved ones, they may seem extremely nice to other like-minded gamers.
- Lacks Interest in Self Development
Your child may become disinterested in his or her school performance and academic achievements. They may also stop attending extra-curriculum activities. The teenager stops keeping track of time spent on gaming. Your child may start believing that the real competition is in the gaming world, and not the actual one.
- Finding Solace In Gaming
Your child may experience happiness, peacefulness and calmness while playing games, which may not exist without it. This can be quite harmful over the long term, as he or she can become completely disconnected from close friends and family members. They may start to feel like a loser when they do not play well.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle
When the teenagers sit for long hours each day, the lack of physical movements may lead to feelings of laziness. It can also send fatigue signals to the brain. As a result, the teenager maintains poor physical health and it may also affect their personal hygiene. Excessive gaming leads to poor eating habits and changes in sleeping cycle. These negative side effects can quickly wear the teenager down.
- Eye Strain and Migraines
Because the teen stares at the TV screen or desktop for many hours, it can cause eye strain or migraines due to intense concentration.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Also known as carpal tunnel, this syndrome is caused by overusing the computer mouse or hand-held game controller. This condition causes tingling, numbness and pain in the hand and arm. It occurs when the median nerve is compressed or squeezed frequently, which is quite common for video gamers who use consoles. Early diagnosis is very important, as the syndrome can worsen over time.
- Strong Urge to Play Games
If you notice your child coming back from school and immediately switching on their video games, it’s a clear indication he or she might have been thinking about it the whole day, without concentrating on his or her studies. Playing at the very first opportunity they have is a clear sign of addiction.
- Spending Excessive Money on Video Gaming
Gaming technology has advanced a lot in the last decade, but that experience comes with a price. Given the quality of gadgets these days, people are willing to spend a lot of money on gaming equipment and upgrades. There’s always something new launched in the gaming market. Your child may be inclined towards spending a lot on these items and services.
The Negative Side Effects of Video Game Addiction in German Teenagers
Just like other compulsive disorders, video game addiction can cause significant short term and long-term effects. A majority of the symptoms mentioned above may be short lived, however a few can pave the way for long-term repercussions if not kept in check.
Things can be even worse for parents if all of their children are addicted to gaming. They may totally disrupt their lifestyles, e.g. by avoiding proper meals or getting sufficient sleep. Fatigue and hunger may cause some short-term issues, but it can eventually lead to diet-related issues or sleep disorder.
A gaming addict may cut down connections with the social world, isolating themselves in order to play video games. This may have a long-term impact on their ability to socialize in the future. They may miss out family events or opportunities to hang out with friends. They may come to a point where they no longer have real friends. They may get trapped in a vicious cycle thinking that they are only accepted in online video games.
Other long-term effects include occupational, academic and financial consequences. Given the popularity among people of all ages, video game equipment is quite expensive these days. If you are an online gamer, you may need high-speed Internet connection, which comes at a cost. One of the most popular video games right now is Player’s Unknown Battleground (PUBG). Games like these are distracting and time consuming, not allowing you to focus on other important things in life. Although playing games can reduce stress, teenagers should never let it affect their education.
How to Determine a Video Game Addiction
If you carefully analyse all of the abovementioned symptoms, it is the best self-assessment you can do. If you find your child too involved into the world of gaming, you need to act responsibly and tell them why it is important to cut down time spent on gaming. If you are not sure whether these symptoms apply to your child, we can assist. Get help now by contacting us here at The Cabin Addiction Services Group to learn more about treatment options.
Does Medication Help?
Video game addiction is psychologically driven, and the treatment can vary from one person to the other. However, there are certain types of therapies to treat a video game addict. Certain types of medication may also help inhibit addictive behaviours.
As per recent studies, there’s one medication called bupropion. It can be used to treat video game addiction. Bupropion is sold under the names of Zyban and Wellbutrin. It is a medication that is primarily used as a smoking cessation aid and an antidepressant. It changes the chemistry of the brain and helps decrease the individual’s cravings for playing games. It may not be an option for everyone, even though it is known to be effective. At the end of the day, a drug is a drug. You should medicate only when there is an absolute need to do so or prescribed by your treatment specialist. For example, a gamer suffering from sleeplessness may use sleeping pills, while those suffering from migraines may take pain relievers.
What are the Side Effects Of Self-Medication?
Do not self-medicate yourself without any proper from a physician. It is important to follow the dosage instructions and directions carefully. Over-the-counter medication is fine, but it can result in dependency. It should not be taken for long periods, unless recommended. Bupropion may be a good choice, but it is not meant to be taken by everyone. Some of the possible side effects include:
- Excessive Sweating
- Dry Mouth
- Drug Dependence, Addiction and Withdrawal
There is an evident link between depression and video game addiction. Whenever a gamer feels disconnected from the world, he or she resorts to taking antidepressants, as it helps reduce stress. Even though a majority of healthcare experts recognise this type of medication to be effective and safe, it also comes along with a set of side effects and risks.
One of the biggest factors is that the body and the mind becomes used to such drugs, and it may become difficult to stop using them. Over time, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, anxiety and irritability. In more serious cases, you may experience depression as a sign of withdrawal from the medication. This can have a greater psychological impact on the addict, which may make the patient feel like the illness has returned.
The Dangers of Overdosing
According to the National Safety Council, the number of deaths related to medical overdoses is more than road accidents. When you are taking medicines for any addiction, it is important that you take only the amount that has been prescribed. If there is a risk of an overdose, a professional should be contacted immediately.
Understanding the Link Between Video Game Addiction And Depression
As per recent studies, results show that there is a deep correlation between depression and video game addiction. If you are suffering from both of these conditions, it is important to seek professional help at an addiction treatment facility that can address both these concerns. The addiction is more likely to reoccur, if you try treating the video game addiction without addressing the co-occurring disorder.
The Cabin Addiction Services Group Can Help
It may not be easy to recover from an addiction, but it can be done. Just like any other addiction, video game addiction can also have long term consequences, and the first step to overcome the addiction is to identify the underlying causes. If your teen exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned above, feel free to contact us. We can determine the most appropriate treatment options for them. Contact us today so that we can use our expertise to help you treat video gaming addiction in German teenagers.