Gaming is a rewarding activity, but gaming addiction can turn everything into despair. Addiction for games is as bad, if not worse than other, milder addictions. Gaming, although developing for over 50 years, has not been studied enough to show if it harms, more than it does good. Scientists are either skeptical about addiction to gaming, or are either for or against it. This is because an addiction is not an easy disorder to define, and then manage.

According to the World Health Organization, “gaming disorder” has been added to the 2018 version of the most important of its medical reference book, the International Classification of Diseases. Still, the most important forum of psychology and psychiatry, the American Psychiatry Association, didn't include it in the famous DSM-5.

What is video games addiction

Even if gaming addiction is not included in the DSM-5 as a disease, there's a section in the manual where doctors and people can look into what makes gaming addiction happening. It doesn't matter if you're an online or offline gamer, as addiction can occur at video games and physical games as well. These are a few of the signs to look for when you're encountering the feeling that something is wrong with your gaming time, and might be turning something fun, into something destructive.

-spending a lot of time thinking about gaming, and feeling a sense of sadness when you can't indulge in it right away;

-the need to be more and more in front of your PC, TV, or phone to play games, and then not being able to stop when you want;

-letting stuff you liked go so that you can play games, as well as encountering troubles at school, work, or in your family;

-keeping your gameplay time up despite the issues it provides, and lying about it to friends and family when they ask about it.

How to prevent gaming addiction

Now that we know what the addiction to gaming looks and feels like, there’s no point in diving deeper for now. The best thing you can do with an addiction is to prevent it, before you begin to treat it. Prevention works much better than treating a disorder, and when it comes to gaming addiction, there are some measures you can take in order to stop it before it becomes an issue.

Limit your game time

The very best way to stop an addiction from taking full form is to literally cut the time you spend doing a certain activity. For example, many smokers cut not their cigarettes per day, when they want to quit, but their time around an ashtray. The same goes for gaming. Set a definitive time limit for how much you can play each day and, no matter what, stick to that one hour of gameplay.

Limit your devices reachability

When you're turning in for the night, limit the reachability of your gaming devices, smartphones included, from the bedroom. These rooms in our homes are made for sleeping and nothing else. Remove any TVs from the bedroom, as well as any consoles, phones, anything that can play a game, it has to go. This way, you're surely not going to play way into the night.

Improve on health and outdoor time

The best way to forget about video games is to literally do stuff from them in the real world. If you're a fan of FIFA, go to the field and play some soccer. If you love the NBA, do the same but at the court. Tennis? Any sports? Chess? The list is endless. Do something outside that will improve on your health and also keep you away from the gaming consoles or your PC.

Three ways to fight gaming addiction

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are probably already addicted to a certain video game. Which is okay, being addicted to something does not mean you can’t stop the addictive behaviour. On the contrary. While hard, unlearning the addiction is possible, and will happen with practice and the most self-control you can put in on a daily basis. Here’s three ways in which you can directly fight your gaming addiction.

Delete your account

It might seem like a straightforward and scary approach, but if your video gaming addiction has overtaken your life and existence, including you dropping out of college or out of work, it’s time to take serious action. And the most serious of actions you can take is deleting your account. Once it’s not there anymore, and you realise the futility of it, most of the times you’re cured.

Replace addiction with another activity

Look deep down into your very nature and see what is something else besides gaming that you can do with passion. Maybe you love watching movies, reading, doing card magic, helping others with chores, and so on. If this is the case, go ahead and replace gaming time with these rewarding, helpful activities.

Seek professional help

If nothing else works and you’re playing games non-stop, constantly damaging your life and health, seek professional help. Talk to a counselor, tell them how you feel about video games, playing them all the time, and the other things happening in your life. It’s going to make all of the difference, the most important thing is to just go for it.