Video game addiction

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: November 29th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Step away from the Playstation!

For some teens and young adults, that may be the only way out of the fantasy-filled world of gaming.

Playing video games may seem innocent enough, but doctors say gaming can be just as addictive as gambling and even as destructive as drug or alcohol abuse to some teens and adults. A new center in the Netherlands has even opened specifically to help gamers beat the joystick addiction.

While alcoholics drink to blur reality, gamers escape their everyday lives into fantasy-rich worlds where they take on the roles of different characters. While most people can play games and lead normal lives, the lure of the fantasy world can become too much for some gamers.

Doctors say you could be developing a problem if you play video games to escape real-life problems, feel the need to play more and more or feel irritable when you can’t play.

Too much time spent in front of screen and not enough face time with peers can also cause emotional aftershocks for some gamers. The result of years spent in front of a screen? Twentysomethings whose emotional intelligence and social skills haven’t advanced past middle school.

Gaming can also cause problems for adults, who may skip work to stay home and play or spend hours of their free time with a game instead of a spouse or children.

For addicted gamers, doctors say the only way out is to stop cold turkey.

Game over.