Since the home console boom of the 1980s, gaming has become an increasingly popular pastime for adults and children alike. In the decades since video games entered everyday life, simple single-screen games have given way to epic online adventures developed by teams of hundreds of artists, writers and programmers. talented. This evolution in how games are developed, what they look like and how they play is reflected in a change in the way we enjoy the hobby. We can now play online with friends in a snap, which has proven hugely beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like everything, however, there is always a chance that we take things too far, which is why gambling addiction has become a disorder recognized by the World Health Organization. It also led to the creation of the National Center for Gaming Disorders by the NHS. If you’re concerned that you or a family member may be addicted to gambling, here are some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for.
According to the UK Addiction Treatment Centre, the eight physical and psychological symptoms that could be a sign of gambling addiction are:
• Unusual preoccupation with getting back online to play
• Self-imposed isolation to ensure uninterrupted play
• Feelings of irritability and restlessness when not playing games
• Lying about time spent playing
• Persistent headaches caused by too much screen time
• Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by excessive use of gaming devices
• Reduced personal hygiene and poor diet
• Persistent fatigue due to lack of sleep.
Of course, it is important to emphasize that the above symptoms do not necessarily mean that you or a loved one is addicted to gambling.
Some of the behaviors may be related to other underlying issues and factors, so it is advisable to look at the full picture before drawing conclusions.
Likewise, the above list is not exhaustive and not everyone with a gambling problem will experience the same symptoms.
If you remain convinced that you or someone you know may have a problem, you should visit the National Center for Gaming Disorders website.
“To request a referral form or if you would like more information about the gambling clinic, please email [email protected] or call 020 7381 7722,” the website says.
The NHS center works with individuals and family members to assess the impact of gambling on your life, before using cognitive behavioral therapy goals and techniques to make positive changes to your lifestyle.
As for what makes gaming a potentially addictive pastime, the UK Addiction Treatment Centers website believes it has something to do with the ever-rewarding nature of video games.
“A person addicted to heroin or cocaine experiences a certain pleasure every time they use it. This pleasure is the direct result of the activation of the reward centers in the brain. The same applies to the Game.
“What’s different with gambling is that the rewards are more frequent and tangible. Where the drug act just ‘feels good’ after taking the drug, the player experiences additional rewards.
“The player enjoys the adrenaline rush of completing certain tasks; he is challenged to move to the next level; the player is rewarded for beating opponents or defeating enemies.
“With gambling addiction, the rewards just keep piling up with each level you complete. There’s literally no end in sight.”
This is why online video games are often considered more addictive because they are designed to be played continuously.
The ability to be someone else in the virtual world is also believed to be a contributing factor to gaming addiction, as are the subtle game mechanics used by some video games.
Ultimately, though, it’s worth remembering that for the vast majority of people, gambling isn’t just a harmless form of entertainment, it’s a pastime with countless benefits.
Whether it’s the ability to connect with friends, unwind after a stressful day, or even – in the case of games like Minecraft – the ability to show off your creative side, play is a force for good. , as long as you don’t. overdo it.