Anyone who is anyone loves to indulge in gaming time. Whether it’s with a handheld, a console or a PC, gaming is a release. It’s a way to escape the problems and exhaustions of the real world and spend time buried in a new world instead. Anyone who has ever spent time gaming knows how consuming it can be, but not everyone experiences that consumption becoming a compulsion.
Gaming is fun, exhilarating, a way to meet new people online and – in some cases – addictive. A harmless game that you slot into a machine has a lot of power and it’s naive to think otherwise. You need to keep your relationship with gaming a healthy one, and if it spills over into something a little more addictive than that, you need to look at your behaviour and check whether you have a problem. Recognizing a problem early is key if you want to continue to game in a healthy way. If you are worrying about your gaming being unhealthy, then check out these signs as to whether it’s a problem for you now.
- You Cannot Stop Thinking About It
We get it. Knowing that you can get home from work and beat the boss of that level you were on is exciting. There is nothing wrong with thinking about your games and planning them out in your head. The problems creep in when this is all you can think about. Preoccupation with gaming is a problem because you end up scheduling your day around your gaming needs, and you start to ritualize the experience. Do you need a specific set up for your gaming? Do you need it to begin at a certain time? There are things that you should notice and if you cannot start gaming without things being done, there could be a problem here!
- Time Means Nothing
You tell yourself you’re going to sit down at the computer for an hour to enjoy your next level. Before you know it, it’s 3am and you’ve yet to feel tired. This is a problem – the fact that you don’t feel tired included. Blue-light technology has a lot to answer for in the gaming world, and the blue-light on the screen is what is keeping you up without interruption. The fact you are staying up way past normal times is a concern, too, as then you’ll be too tired to integrate into the real world the next day. This can interrupt your regular routine and even your job.
- You Start To Scheme To Get More Time To Game
Scheming and lying are both traits of an addict. Are you lying to others to get more time to be on your games console? Are you spending more time thinking about gaming and how to get out of work to do it? That’s a problem. Sure, you may feel a natural “high” for being on your games and not at work, but it’s not good for you to feel this way.
- You Put Less Time Into Your Relationships
Consider the way that you are working your time spent with your games versus the time spent with your loved ones. You feel a need to be online and playing, and that means that you are spending less time with the people who love you. This can make those relationships crumble, and it may not be something that you want to happen, but while you are putting more emphasis on your gaming relationship than your loving one, you can’t expect them to continue!
- You Don’t Think There’s A Problem
A classic sign that there IS a problem is that you don’t believe in one. Addiction to gaming – or anything, really – often leads someone to think that everything’s just fine and there’s nothing to worry about. Denying that there is an issue in the first place is not the smartest way to combat your addiction to your gaming console. Instead, you need to face that you spend more time on your consoles than with people in the real world, and that can come with timing how often you’re spending time online and how often you spend it with people.
- You Feel Withdrawal When Not Playing
Any addiction has side effects, but the biggest is withdrawal. You will find that your body stops working the way it used to when you are addicted to a game. You crave the game, rather than anything else that will make your body feel good. If you’re irritable and restless when not online, you could find that you are going through withdrawal. You may also experience anxiety from being away from it, or depression because you’re not playing.
- You Rely On Your Console To Cope
Is life feeling a little stressful? You’re online to escape it. Are you struggling in your marriage? You’re online to escape it. Using your console as a crutch to hold your feelings up is a classic symptom. Using gaming as a way to cope is not a healthy way to manage your feelings. You should consider the help of a therapist if you cannot manage a day without time spent on your console. Don’t deal with the feelings of depression and conflict: get some help!
- The Negative Consequences Are Building Up
You spend so much time on your console that you’re noticing the negative side effects at first, but they’re ever present. The decline in your workplace success, the fact you’re showering and grooming less, the issues you’re having with money, the breakdown of your marriage – need we go on? All of these are negative consequences to time spent gaming and not looking after your real life. The worst of it is when you’re spending money on gaming and not on your bills, and you end up in serious debt as a result.
Gaming is fun, but if it’s beginning to take over your life you’re going to need to pull yourself up on it. Make gaming a part of your life – not everything about it.