Video games offer a reprieve from our day-to-day life. We can escape into a fantastical, post-apocalyptic landscape in the Fallout series, or slay dragons and romance warriors.

Research on Video Game Addiction

 Video game dependency may seem like a phony “boogie-man” dreamed up by parents in the ’90s, but there is some clinical evidence to support video game addiction as a prospective mental health risk– although not all research discovers a consensus.

Psychology professors and researchers Patrick Markey and Christopher Ferguson discovered that video games double the quantity of dopamine in your brain … just like eating a slice of pizza. Delving deep into a virtual world appears to make you pleased in the short-term.

But can the happiness triggered by binging apparently limitless, enormously multiplayer online role playing (MMORPG) games like World of Warcraft cause a dependency?

In the New York Times, Markey and Ferguson argue no: the anxiety around the possibilities of “video game addiction” is nothing more than the worry of the new.

“Our children are ‘addicted’ to brand-new innovations since, for the most part, they improve our lives or are simply pleasurable,” they write, concluding, “Evidence for dependency to video games is practically nonexistent.”

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) tentatively supports their assessment. In 2016, they undertook an extensive research study designed to determine if “web gaming condition” qualified as a potential psychiatric medical diagnosis.

While the disorder is discussed in the DSM-5 (the existing edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it’s listed as a “Condition for Further Study” — suggesting this research study might help to identify if and how mental health service providers deal with internet video gaming condition.

Currently, the DSM-5’s diagnostic requirements requires fulfilling five of the following requirements within one year:

– Preoccupation or obsession with Internet video games.

– Withdrawal signs when not playing Internet games.

– An accumulation of tolerance– more time needs to be spent playing the games.

– The individual has attempted to stop or suppress playing web games, but has actually failed to do so.

– The individual has actually had a loss of interest in other life activities, such as hobbies.

– A person has had continued overuse of Internet video games even with the understanding of just how much they impact a person’s life.

– The person lied to others about his/her Internet video game usage.

– The person uses web games to relieve anxiety or guilt– it’s a way to leave.

– The person has lost or put at risk an opportunity or relationship because of Internet games.

The 2016 research study found that two out of three players reported no signs. In fact, less than 1% of individuals may get approved for a potential intense medical diagnosis.

“Comparison to betting disorder exposed that internet-based games may be substantially less addicting than gambling and similarly dysregulating as video games more generally,” the research study concluded.

Possible Positives to Video Game Enjoyment

Some research studies even suggest that video gaming may bulk up your brain. A research study by neuroscientist Marc Palaus discovered that video gaming boosts the volume of your right hippocampus and entorhinal cortex– both of which assistance spatial memory and navigation.

In fact, video games may even be healing: gamer communities offer peer support, and gamers with psychological health issues may find support and connectedness, which equate into real-world mental health.

Increasing Concerns About Video Game Addiction

But in spite of all these promising research studies, there is some issue that computer game dependency could end up being a major issue. The World Health Organization identifies gaming dependency a psychological health condition, estimating 2– 3% of gamers are formally “addicted.” A 2010 study found gaming dependency substantially more widespread in Taiwan and other Asian countries than in the U.S.

Tae Kyung Lee is a Korean psychiatrist who runs a government-funded gamer treatment clinic. He discovers that players can’t manage the length of time they invest in the video game– and when they stop playing, they experience virtual artifacts, like sounds and vision, in the real world. If you’ve played Tetris for more than an hour directly, you’ve probably experienced the same thing.

If You Feel Like Your Gaming is Out of Control, Seek Help

Is gaming dependency “genuine”? The response depends on who you ask– however the research indicates most gamers don’t require to stress over a possible dependency. There’s nothing wrong with a weekend-long binge of new AAA smash hit Red Dead Redemption 2, as long as you’re sitting in your other requirements, too.

But if your inability to put the controller down issues you connect for aid. A qualified psychological health professional can help you establish clear limits between you and the game.