Addiction to Online Games

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Category: Addiction
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Gambling addiction today has acquired the scale of a real epidemic, and this is observed not only among children and adolescents, but also among adults. The average teenager spends up to six hours a day at the computer. Approximately 70% of children are addicted to games such as “GameofWare” – with stories of violence and cruelty. The killing in them is the main element and goal of the game. Addicts begin to confuse real reality with virtual reality.

Such a mania is considered a consequence of significant psychological pathologies.

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With the help of computer games, people try to get away from life situations that excite them or replace a certain missing element: the attention of loved ones, the absence of a loved one, social status.

The reasons
Possible causes of gambling addiction are considered to be:

Various mental disorders (psychopathy).
Peculiarities of a human character, insecurity, shyness, often lead to the emergence of addictions of this kind.
Many people use games to realize their childhood fantasies and fears.
Deficit of communication. This problem is very relevant among children and adolescents, whose parents are constantly busy at work.
Intra-family conflicts. Often, in order to avoid family scandals, people plunge into an invented world, which only aggravates the situation.
Social phobias, when a person is afraid of interpersonal relationships and real society. Computer games help him to get away from real life, to feel significant and strong. The computer becomes an interlocutor and friend for him.
Stages of gambling addiction
Gambling addiction does not arise at once, in its development there are several stages, each of which is characterized by certain signs and changes in the behavior of the addict. Each of the stages is characterized by the acquisition of new pathological addictions.

Preparatory stage,
in which an increase in susceptibility to play develops. Personal qualities such as low self-esteem, inability to control their emotions, lack of desire to accept criticism, aggression, impulsivity and hyperactivity, increased levels of anxiety, depression and stress, a tendency to immerse themselves in a fantasy world, contribute to the development of gambling addiction in adults and children. And this applies not only to computer games. At the same time, a person has an irresistible desire to take risks and maintain his pride. Gradually, an unconscious craving for a certain type of games develops. If such a psychological state is not noticed and corrected, then the disease proceeds to the next stage.

Winning stage,
in which the perception of play is formed in the human mind as a way to realize oneself, and sometimes to obtain material benefits. The mind begins to clouder, and even a small win strongly stimulates interest. An illusion is created that a person himself creates his own destiny, having the opportunity to prove his superiority to those around him. At this stage, a person is not able to understand the consequences of their actions. Dissatisfaction and criticism from loved ones can be perceived very negatively, as a desire to question the self-realization and success of the player.

Losing stage,
when gambling addicts find themselves in a closed loop of certain events. The desire to play with them is not every time reinforced by the presence of material opportunities. They spend all available funds and even tend to borrow money. After a chain of losses, for a while, their desire to play disappears and an imaginary understanding of their mistakes begins. However, in the presence of some provoking factors (for example, advertising or emerging material opportunities), a person again follows his desire, and history repeats itself. The interval between cycles is the less, the more developed the disease. The difficult financial situation and constant losses increase the level of anxiety, the player becomes angry and irritable.

Despair stage.
Due to the systematic desire to play, a person loses interest in everything else. Problems arise at school or at work, the social circle changes, the psychological state does not allow him to exist normally in the family. Loved ones get tired of constant deceptions, debts and negative attitudes and gradually begin to distance themselves. The player often realizes that the reason for everything is addiction, however, all attempts to control himself do not bring a positive result. A depressed psychological state often leads to alcohol or drug abuse, which further exacerbates the disease. In such a state, people can break the law, sell existing real estate, valuables, take loans. The only solution a person sees is the opportunity to play further in order to solve his material and social problems with a win.

The stage of hopelessness
in which the patient realizes his dependence and realizes that there is practically no probability of hitting the jackpot, nevertheless he continues to play. At the same time, he is ruled by the desire to experience habitual emotions during the game, which is a manifestation of psychological dependence.

How long does the pathology take?
The development of gambling addiction occurs gradually and the ingode can last 3 years. Certain mental disorders develop at each stage. At first, the player is no different from healthy people, then he becomes overly impulsive, he develops a tendency to obsessive ideas. This leads to permanent mental breakdown. Lack of self-control and a change in self-criticality provokes personality disintegration. The loss of moral values ??leads to a state of anger, oppression of positive emotional states, the player becomes indifferent to the suffering of people and all kinds of social problems.

The mechanism of the formation of gambling addiction
The pathophysiological mechanism of the formation of gambling addiction to computer games is based on the stimulation of certain centers of pleasure in the brain. This pathological condition can manifest itself in the form of a feeling of euphoria while visiting the virtual world. Patients with computer addiction cannot plan their time at the computer. To stimulate intellectual activity, they begin to consume large amounts of caffeinated drinks and other psychostimulants.

The regime and quality of food are changing – for gamers, beer and fast food are becoming the main products. A person begins to poorly follow the rules of personal hygiene: he stops combing his hair, brushing his teeth, taking a shower – he becomes indifferent to how he looks and eats. He usually leads a sedentary lifestyle and does not sleep well. If the computer or smartphone suddenly breaks down, or if the player runs out of money for the game, he is in a depressed mood, can be aggressive with people around him, starts looking for a solution to the problem and, as a rule, does not think about his personal life, work or study. As gambling addiction progresses, the patient cannot give up computer games, although he begins to understand their uselessness. He regularly moves away from reality and plunges into an illusory world, takes on the role of a character and lives his life.

Gambling addiction leads to an overload of the nervous system, exciting impulses enter the human brain, and after a certain time, he has a decrease in mood, well-being, anxiety increases, and adaptation in society is disturbed. Often dissatisfaction with oneself is formed, the meaning of life is lost, symptoms of deep depression appear. Such people, as a rule, are reserved, not talkative.

Treatment of gambling addiction
Addiction cannot be regarded as an independent disease, since it is a consequence of serious mental problems. It is important to identify the root cause of this phenomenon and deal specifically with it. For the treatment of gambling addiction, psychotherapy, medication, and hypnosis are used. It is very important to apply comprehensive measures. For gambling addiction, autogenic training, psychosynthesis, family and behavioral psychotherapy are also used.

Psychotherapy should be aimed at correcting family relationships, eliminating psychological attitudes (isolation), problems, and treating fears. The method of gestalt therapy is successfully applied, which helps to “close the gestalt”, that is, to solve the problem.

Symptomatic drug therapy for computer gambling addiction is aimed at treating depression, insomnia, increased anxiety, and irritability. At the same time, herbal preparations are often prescribed for sedation, but most often experts prescribe antipsychotics and tranquilizers. To stabilize sleep, hypnotics and antidepressants are used, which relieve psycho-emotional overexcitation and normalize mood.

Treatment for gambling addiction should be comprehensive

Preventive methods
Prevention of this disease is also extremely important, especially when it comes to the emergence of gambling addiction in adolescence and childhood. At the same time, parents are encouraged to have more frequent conversations with the child, to attend to his employment, to interest him in any kind of sport or creativity. It is necessary to constantly encourage the child for success, praise him, and support his self-esteem. Prevention of gambling addiction should be carried out on a regular basis.

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Addiction To Online Games. (2021, Jul 07). Retrieved from