Clinical Psychologist Damla Özcan from Moodist Hospital notes that Internet and game addiction can significantly affect the daily functionality of a person, just like other types of addiction and says, “Long hours spent, especially in the recent period, at home due to the pandemic reduced interpersonal communication and increased the time spent on the phone and computer. Thus, individuals who wanted to escape from anxiety even for short periods turned to online games. Although online games can reduce short-term anxiety, they can develop addiction in the long run”.
The desire to escape from the daily life concerns can urge individuals to seek different pleasures. One of such pleasures is online games. Online games can be an escape route to experience this feeling of pleasure and to get away from the exhaustion of life. Online games are easy and mostly free to access, which can increase the demand for them. We can say that the pleasure from online games is short-term and that resorting to online games to manage anxiety can develop addiction in people.
Socialization takes place via the Game Platform
Internet and game addiction, like other types of addiction, significantly affect a person’s daily functionality. We can talk about addiction when online games significantly affect education, work, social and family life of an individual. For example, eating in front of the computer or phone increases, and dining at the same table with the family is no longer applicable for people with addiction. Socialization occurs via the platforms within the game. Face-to-face meeting and communication through non-game channels is no longer needed.
So, What Are the Signs of Online Game Addiction that Significantly Affect People’s Lives?
- The time spent in the game gradually increases and the awareness of the player about the time spent in the game is insufficient or the player is not aware at all. For example, a person may spend hours in front of a computer or phone, but when they are asked about it, they would say that it’s approx. 2 hours.
- Some psychological and physical deprivation symptoms such as restlessness and irritability may appear when they are away from online games.
- The person has an intense desire to play again and again during the day.
- The person’s many mental activities during the day focus on Internet and playing games.
- Onset of sleep disorders.
- Difficulty in allocating time for activities that the person has been previously doing.
- Not being able to avoid playing games despite wanting to quit.
- Changes in the diet.
Day & Night Confusion is the Most Frequently Encountered Symptom
The most frequently encountered symptom at the advanced stages of Internet and game addiction is day & night confusion. Always remember that game addiction is a family disease. In game addiction, as in other addictions, the addicted person must be closely followed up by the family who will work simultaneously and in cooperation with the professionals for treatment.
You Can Follow These Steps for Your Gaming Addicted Relatives
- Keep an Internet usage log with your addicted relative and jointly monitor the frequency and duration of Internet usage.
- Support your addicted relative to take on new pursuits and new hobbies, and find new pursuits together.
- Stop approaching the computer as if it was a sort of battle of power and authority. Focus on what you can do together for controlled use of computer rather than full restriction.
- Observe your addicted relative for a while to learn how much time he/she spends and on which online platforms.
- When some existing symptoms deteriorate and you have difficulty in intervening, ask for support from a psychologist and psychiatrist and meet the treatment team.