Gaming Addiction - How To Stop, How To Deal With & How To Help
Gaming addictions are very serious. They can heavy a very negative effect on relationships, work, school and most of all - your physical health.
As a group that communicates with gamers on a daily basis, we know that some of you spend a lot more time gaming than you really should. Getting a few more levels or unlocking a new skin for bragging rights, really isn't worth it if your health is at risk at the end of the day.
We want to write this article to inform more gamers and make them aware of this very serious issue.
The World Health Organization estimates that between 3-4% of gamers have an addiction to gaming. With the average age of a gaming addicts being around 24 years old.
Anyone can fall victim to becoming addicted to gaming. They have found that you are more at risk, if you are under 25 and if you have any other underlying mental health conditions such as depression.
How to deal with a gaming addiction
Set time limits
For severe cases it is recommended that you completely stop gaming. For others you should set limits on how much time you spend gaming. You can set a timer on and once it goes off, your screen goes off.
There may be times where you slip up and you may go over your time limit and that's fine. The whole point is that you are regularly decreasing your time gaming.
Let your family or friends know you are about to start gaming so they can also call or message you when the time is up.
Record your gaming time
Keeping a record of the amount of time you play each day can help you paint a bigger picture of how much time you actually play.
Once all of your work, homework and/or household tasks are completed then you can reward yourself with some gaming. If you see it as a reward you will appreciate it more and will understand that you can only play once everything else in your life is taken care of.
Get rid of all gaming devices from your bedroom
This is one of the most important points. It is ridiculously easily to just turn on a console or gaming device if it is in front of you. Put it in another room or get someone to hold it for you when you're not playing it so you don't have ease of access to it.
It's easy to play all night long when you have your gaming devices in your bedroom. That's why it is important to remove them from the place that you sleep.
How many times have you had a bad game or had a disagreement with one of your teammates and then tried to sleep? We know how hard that can be.
Repetition of this can lead to a reduced quality of sleep and to overall well being.
If you are used to playing games all night, reducing or stopping this altogether can make it hard to sleep. Practice breathing exercises to help you. If you really struggle to sleep, see your local GP.
How to help someone with a gaming addiction
It can be hard to convince someone of their gaming addiction. It can be even harder to stop them from gaming or limiting their gaming time.
You need to approach it in a loving, gentle and caring way as you would with any addiction.
As with any addiction it can be near impossible to help them if they themselves don't want the help. Instead of just saying "It's bad for you!" and then getting into a heated argument, tell them or show them what it is doing to them.
Let them know that it has really affected their grades, work ethic or quality of life. Letting them know the effects of the gaming addiction may help, because it is hard to see what the gaming addiction is doing to someone going through it.
Every case is different, some may be easier to manage or stop than others. For more advice on harder cases, consult an addiction counselor to help you.
Signs of a gaming addiction
Gaming addictions can have a negative effect on your life in the following ways:
- School or work performance drops severely
- Forgetting to sleep and eat at regular times
- Lose interest in any other activities that you once used to enjoy
- Beginning to spend less and less time with family and friends
- Relationships with friends and family decrease
Sometimes gaming addictions can be brought on by underlying issues. It can be used an escape from your real life problems. You would be at a high risk if you begin to use gaming as an outlet to escape your real life problems. Instead you should be addressing those problems in your life that are causing you stress or anxiety.
For the best advice, speak to a medical professional to help you to take steps to get your life back on track.
Check in on those with a gaming addiction regularly
If you feel your loved ones fall to a gaming addiction, it is really important to continuously check in on them.
Ask them to go out for a walk or to go out to get something healthy to eat from time to time. Include them in other activities to help them get their mind off gaming.
Message them and ask them how they're going and if they have anything that they would like to do, to get out of the house or just away from their gaming devices.
Gaming Addiction - How To Stop
The only way to carve out a gaming addiction from your life, is to find other activities to replace it and fill the void. You can replace a gaming addiction with a multitude of activities like:
- Sports - kick a ball or join a team and play professionally
- Hobbies - Start collecting Pokemon cards or postage stamps
- Writing - Write your own book or blog
- Drawing - Be creative
- Online courses - Coding, Languages or anything else!
- Going out with friends and families
- Walks and jogs around the block or at the park
You just need something even temporary, to help you break away from your gaming addiction.
Take time each day to care for yourself
Make sure you have a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. With a gaming addiction it is easy to miss meals and cheat with unhealthy snacks like chocolate and other junk food.
According to an article posted by helpguide.org if you are between 6-17 years of age you should be getting around 9-10 hours. If you are 18 and older you should be getting around 7-9 hours of sleep.
Make sure that you are showering and brushing your teeth every day and take care of your personal hygiene.
Get a good 30 minutes of exercise in each day. Make sure you take care of any other responsibilities that you may have.
If you manage to do all that, you shouldn't have too much time left for a gaming addiction.
Ask for support to help limit your gaming time
Tell your family and friends that you are taking steps to help with your gaming addiction and that you could use their support. Even if they just message or call your every day to see how you're going can be a big help.
Cut out all the toxic people that are pressuring you into bad habits. You will be better for the experience. If they don't want to be friends with you because you don't game as much as you used to, then they aren't friends worth keeping.
Good and loyal friends will always respect your wishes and try to help you become a better person. They will never try to bring you down for their own benefit.
Don't be ashamed to reach out either, just tell your friends and family what you're going through and that you want to get better. We are sure that they would be more than happy to help you.
If you are stressed about your gaming addiction, you can practice things like meditation, gym, sports and yoga. Drawing and writing is also a proven therapeutic method to reduce stress.
If you feel that it is out of your control and you can't help yourself. Consult your doctor for advice on how to get a grip on your gaming addiction.
Younger gamers can speak to their parents or other family members to seek advice on steps to take.
Join gaming addiction groups
You are not alone in this struggle and there is more people out there that suffer or have been through the exact same thing you are going through.
There is a number of online gaming addiction groups out there such as Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous, Online Gamers Anonymous and Game Quitters to help you with your struggling game addiction.
Rehab for gaming addiction
If your gaming addiction spirals out of control and you can find any solutions to help it, get yourself into an addiction center. While in there you won't have access to any gaming devices, so you won't have the temptation.
You will need to want to be in there for rehab to work. You can speak to your doctor or have a look online for a gaming addiction treatment facility.
If you are in the U.S you can call the American Addiction Centers on 1-866-204-2290 for help in locating a treatment facility for yourself.