Letter from the heart #2: Video game addiction

After the publication of my first letter from the heart, I have received several messages. For my second edition, I singled out a problem that affects parents, spouses, and many video game gamers’ relatives: video game addiction.

Here is a short transcript of the messages I received:

Hi Pierre-Luc, my 20 year old son is still at home. I wake up in the morning, he is in front of his computer playing video games. I went to bed, he was still at his computer.

I told him about my concerns and he shut down every time. The job search has come to a halt. I’ve tried every technique I know of: saying nothing, talking to him quietly, trying to get interested in his game, snapping at him, but nothing is working. It’s like talking to a wall. How do I let him know about my concerns?

READ ALSO: The Bell Cause: video games, technology and the autism spectrum

video game addiction

Scientifically, “video game addiction” is not yet a unified concept. The World Health Organization includes video game-related disorders in it internal medicine classificationwhile other orders cast doubt on this diagnosis.

The problem is that we are still waiting for research to consolidate our knowledge of the situation. Is spending hours playing video games an addiction or a compulsion? These two problems require two very different treatments. For example, we don’t treat alcoholism the way we treat obsessive compulsive disorder.

What do we know

We know that we are can have complications from video games and that teens are more likely to succumb to them than adults.

It is suspected that family relationships may have a link, but the impact cannot be ascertained. In uncertain matters, we think Is it possible that it will be an impulsive gesture and not a compulsion.

Often, we talk about comorbidities in excessive consumption of video games. There is Horrible in a word, but basically it just means that often one problem is accompanied by another. Or some other.

Among people who find themselves in this situation, there are many cases of anxiety, depression, ADHD, social phobia combined with insufficient psychological assistance.

But we have not determined causality. Does someone become depressed because they spend their life playing games or do they spend hours on video games because of depression? We don’t know.

There is also a link between sleep disturbances and video game problems. Again, we must remain cautious and avoid talking about causality.

But one thing is certain, it is a real phenomenon that has even caused some deaths.

Beware of some games

Not all games touch the same areas of the brain. Those who constantly reward players like slot machines will get us hooked faster. The hormonal dynamics in our brains are very similar to compulsive gamblers during these gaming sessions.

And that, everyone can fall into a pattern where we can lose control. I’ll admit that it happened to me recently for my review of Wrong The Office: Somehow We Made It. Me know that the game is bad and unsatisfying, but it took me 10 days after writing my review before I managed to delete it from my phone!

Developers build software strictly made to inject us with microdoses of dopamine. Hard to resist!

Another important factor concerns the final, or current, shortage. If we base ourselves on Super Mario World, when we have “played the record”. Ben. We played the tape.

We could start over, but in general, we’d get bored if we kept repeating the same levels. On the other hand, many online games never have an endpoint. Each game is always different from the previous one. And that’s where you can get lost in Animal Crossing just like in Fortnite.

My two cents (which scientifically isn’t worth much)

For me, I’d enter the arena with my samples around me: spending too much time playing video games, yes, that’s possible. Above all, I witnessed the damage done World of Warcraft that devours social and professional life many people around me.

I have a sister in law who plays our faces with her boyfriend on wow, respectively on their computers when we visit them. From relatives who drowned in college courses to their characters World of Warcraft. Phenomena of wow it has been known to the extent that employers refuse to hire players!

Now when we talk about too many what is meant by playing video games too many?

When I lived with my parents, if my mother ever asked me if I played too many to Goldeneye 007 on Nintendo 64, he would say yes. I also believe that if I cut my playing time in half he would still say it too many.

That’s why I don’t really rely on hours spent playing the game to tell that someone is playing too many. I mean, if I take a whole week off to play because I love it, that’s not the same as if I force the responsibility to do it.

That’s why I watch more results spend so much time with the controller in your hands. Or keyboards. Depends.

Are relationships with those around you crumbling? Is the person putting their financial, professional or academic health at risk?

And even then, let’s say the less gifted students at school skip classes. Is this the video game’s fault? And if she spends her time knitting, are we to blame her knitting? Who said he would get good grades if he studied more?

But one thing is for sure, this person decided to obsess over something instead of finding balance in his life.

Things to remember

Problems are problems. And like all such circumstances, the person caught in the whirlwind must accept that the situation is not favorable.

The thing is, it’s not for nothing that these people spend so much time playing. Somehow, it’s safe to sit in the virtual world. It’s their cuddly toy for the heart and head.

That’s why direct confrontation doesn’t work. You attack something they love to do. In some cases, they even identify with the level they earned for investing so much time in this activity.

Our only recourse is to remain empathetic until the person acknowledges that there is a problem. Focus on your relationship with the person and only occasionally, not every day, bring up the topic without judgment. That means no accusations like “you have a gambling problem” or insults like “I know you are better than that.” »

For this conversation, get out of your home and ordinary surroundings. Psychologically, this kind of discussion is more effective elsewhere because it is destructive pattern to have the same discussion in the same setting.

You can talk about yourself, that it worries you, but you will always be there for this person. You can also suggest to that loved one if he is not comfortable sharing his worries with you, that you are willing to help him find a mental health professional who will maintain confidentiality.

That’s it, without lingering on the subject. you will succeed. Once there, it’s up to the man alone to weather the storm.

Return to normal life

What’s difficult about all of this is that gaming, unlike other addictions, has no other alternative. People who quit smoking have a patch or a vape. We wouldn’t offer a small Gameboy to people who play too much. Plus, we’re made with video games on our phones!

Behind all that there may be a bigger problem that also needs to be solved. What sucks in all of this is our powerlessness. In the end, we can’t do it for him. We can only encourage our loved ones to seek help. Always with love.

Problems, conflicts, questions, concerns with loved ones regarding video games? Write to me on Facebook or Instagram. Anonymity offered!

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