How do I cure video game addiction

Computer game addiction - therapy, test and help

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Every now and then the term haunts the media Computer game addiction, but the discussions held there often do not do justice to the real causes and problems of those affected and their families. In the following article we have therefore given you well-founded information about the most frequently asked questions on the subject Computer game addiction collected:

  • What is computer game addiction?
  • What are the causes?
  • How can you recognize addiction to computer games?
  • Where can those affected find help?

General information on computer game addiction

The use of computers and the Internet is playing an increasingly important role in the life of our society. Around 85% of German households have one or more computers privately, and almost as many have broadband internet access. So it is hardly surprising that the number of people suffering from computer addiction has increased significantly in the last ten years.

In technical terminology, this is called "pathological use of computers". But computer addiction is not the same Computer addiction, because under it various manifestations of the disease are summarized. For example, there is an addiction to

  • Computer games,
  • Internet use or
  • Online pornography and even
  • according to social networks.

So far, however, sufficient research results are not yet available on all forms, so that at the moment all forms are grouped under the heading of computer and internet addiction.

Generally speaking, people are considered addicts whose purpose in life consists primarily of computer games - not because they want to, but because it has become a compulsion. As a result, friends, family, school, studies and work are severely neglected.

MMORPGs or massively multiplayer online role-playing games, in which you can master tasks and have adventures alone or in groups, are particularly attractive. However, since there is always something to do, a certain pressure quickly arises to have to be online at all times - to get everything done and not miss anything.

But a distinction must be made here: not everyone who likes to play an online role-playing game is automatically addicted. It only becomes worrying when people avoid normal everyday life and withdraw into a game world, where the game is based on deadlines, obligations and their own needs.

Spread of addiction

In the 2009 Drugs and Addiction Report, the Federal Government first commented on this Problems with computer and internet addiction. At that time it was assumed that 2.8 million people were affected, although the number of unreported cases was estimated to be significantly higher.

Only the drug affinity study by the Federal Center for Health Education from 2011 offers more recent figures.

  • 80% of the 12 to 17 year olds and 75% of the 18 to 25 year olds play offline computer games, via smartphone or game console and
  • 60% of the 12 to 17 year olds and 50% of the 18 to 25 year olds online computer games.

According to rough estimates, one to six percent of this is real addicted to computer games - with significantly more boys than girls affected.

Tracking down the causes

The causes for Computer game addiction are broad. Often there is not just one trigger that makes those affected tend to use computer games excessively, but rather a combination of several factors:

  • The most common reason is that coping with stress and distraction with computer games. People with depression or social phobias in particular use virtual worlds to forget frustration and insecurity and enjoy the light-heartedness there - even when real life collapses in the meantime.
  • But also the personality plays a big role in whether or not you get addicted. People with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are particularly at risk. But even people with a low self-esteem feel attracted to online role-playing games, because in the virtual world they find a way much faster to be recognized and integrated into a group.
  • Neurobiological Considered, excessive computer gaming triggers the same physiological processes in the brain as, for example, alcohol addiction: While those are stimulated by the image of a beer, the screenshot of the respective favorite game triggers similar reactions in computer gamers. In addition, many online role-playing games lure with reward systems to which male computer gamers in particular react: players are rewarded for tasks that have been completed, which motivates the brain to continue playing or to want to achieve more.

The symptoms of computer game addiction

In terms of symptoms, computer game addiction differs little from other addiction disorders: Those affected gradually lose control over their usage behavior and therefore spend so much time on the computer or on the Internet that they

  • private and
  • professional life,
  • as well as their health

suffer from it. The American Psychiatric Association developed nine criteria for better recognition of the clinical picture. As soon as people have five or more symptoms in a 12 month period, medical advice should be sought:

  • Mainly occupied with the topic of internet and online games. Should you not be able to play, your thoughts will mainly revolve around it.
  • When it is not possible to play on the computer, withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, nervousness, sadness or anxiety occur.
  • There is a development of tolerance with the need to spend more and more time playing computer games.
  • Family members, therapists, or other people are deceived into portraying the real level of computer game addiction.
  • Computer games are used to alleviate negative emotions such as fear, guilt or helplessness.
  • Significantly less interest in previous hobbies and social contacts.
  • Even though those affected have realized that they have psychosocial problems, they still continue to gamble excessively.
  • Unsuccessful attempts are made to gamble less.
  • There is a risk that those affected will lose contact with family and friends due to the computer game addiction or that training, job and career opportunities will no longer be pursued.

However, there is no mere hourly specification from which you can classify those affected as addicted or not. It is therefore important to differentiate even with multiple signals. Signals should also not suppress or gloss over signals, so advice is always a good idea, even if it ultimately does not result in any diagnosis Computer game addiction comes.

Recognition of addiction to computer games and help for those affected and their families

Although the addiction to computer games was classified as worrying at the time, it is still not officially recognized as an independent disorder or illness. But there are numerous initiatives that are campaigning for inclusion in the ICD-10 (the international classification system for diseases) in order to create better treatment options for those affected. Those affected and their families can find help at advice centers for gambling addiction.

DeStatis, 2014:
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DeStatis, 2015:
Drug Report 2014: