What do you think about when you wake up? Do you think about heading to your computer, switching it on, and getting back to your favorite game? You know that it’s unhealthy for you. Time goes by and you become more and more absorbed in your virtual world. You check out of reality. Your room is a mess, so you close the door so nobody interrupts you. You don’t have time for family and friends, not to mention school or work.
With the development of new technologies and the massive popularity of devices that can access the Internet, the ways we spend our time have changed dramatically. Excessive computer use changes the structure of the brain and may lead to an addiction similar to alcohol, drugs, or gambling. It’s classified medically as Pathological Computer/Internet Use Disorder. The author of this classification, Dr. Ivan Goldberg, states that “abusing [has] a significant impact on the physical, psychological, interpersonal, sociological, and economic sphere of the patient.” To diagnose this serious disorder, we have to count the number of hours spent in front of the computer. How can you solve this problem and break your gaming addiction?
Do you lack motivation?
In all of the observed groups of people addicted to gaming, a number of the smaller areas of the brain – prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and the parts that control motor skills – were smaller than those in healthy subjects. These differences reached upwards of 10-20%. To make matters worse, the study showed that online players demonstrated a reduction of brain tissue. Researchers noted that reduced functionality by these areas of the brain can have severe consequences for online gamers – including lack of self-control, decreased short-term memory, difficulties when making decisions, and limited control of behavior-oriented goals.
Admit you have a problem
First of all, you have to realize that the time you spend gaming has become problematic. It has become an addiction. This is perhaps the first and most important step. You have to really want to get your gaming addiction under control. You have to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally to give up gaming and channel your energy into developing new interests and habits. Sometimes this first step may take a few days, or even weeks or months. However, the most important thing is to acknowledge that you have a problem, and then take steps to overcome it.
Get rid of all of your games.
When you get through the first step and become motivated to make a positive change in your life, get rid of ALL OF YOUR GAMES. Seriously. Uninstall them all or throw them all away.. Every single game! Get rid of every source of temptation. Maybe you are motivated enough to commit to not playing any more games now, but one day you might find yourself struggling with an overwhelming desire to play, so it’s best if they are completely gone. It’s important to also involve your friends in your treatment. Explain to them why they shouldn’t let you play on their computers or consoles.
Replacing fiction with reality
Once you have gotten rid of all your games, you will suddenly realize how much free time you have. What are you going to do with it? Don’t waste the extra time you have. Keep yourself busy! Maybe you like playing music? Take some lessons and devote your time to practicing the instrument of your choice. Participate in sports; develop your new skills or hobbies such as photography, languages, or graphic design. Discover new passions for yourself. Do something productive for your self-improvement and health that will keep you from wanting to play games again.
If you have a problem with gaming, then you have probably neglected your family and friends. Maybe it’s not too late to rekindle these relationships! Do your best to strengthen your contacts. When was the last time you went to the movies or out to a nightclub? Ask your friends to come hang out with you! Remember the virtual world is no replacement for the joy and pleasure that real world relationships can bring you. Get out of the house and start experiencing life. Make new friends and catch up on all of the things you have been missing out on.
Consider a gaming support group
Stop worrying about the stigma attached to group therapy and get in touch with a support group that can help you. Support groups are helpful to people with any number of problems. There, you will meet people who are also struggling and who have had many of the same experiences as you in your gaming addiction. If you prefer an individual approach you could, consult an addiction specialist in your city. Take your freedom back and be rid of your gaming addiction—get help now.