Gaming addictions like all addictions can negatively affect a person’s health. Those addicted to gaming suffer from:
- Emotional strain – including depression, aggression, loneliness and stress
- Fatigue – including sleep interruptions and insomnia
- Weight gain – lack of physical exercise and health eating habits
- Relationship strain – withdrawing from family and friends
- Decreased production – impacting employment and education
Turning the corner and establishing healthier habits in recovery from a gaming addiction is crucial to restoring physical and mental fitness. It is important to seek professional help and start receiving the support needed to achieve recovery.
It is a well-known fact that gamers frequently stay up all night playing their favorite games. This can begin to take its toll on a person’s sleep patterns, some struggle with fatigue, others with sleep interruption and worse – insomnia.
Getting back to a regular pattern of sleep is vital. Setting an alarm across the room for a morning wakeup may be a good first step. It will be difficult at first but after repeating this step daily, it retrains your body to be awake during the daytime and sleep at night.
Addictions can be detrimental to relationships. Relationships suffer from the distance that occurs from the gamers primary focus turning away from loved ones and towards games. The reality of this new set of priorities is often heart breaking for those closest.
Starting with a heartfelt apology and then taking steps to make friends and family a priority again will begin the road to relationship recovery. It will take time to rebuild trust but be encouraged that each step you take towards healing relationships is worth it.
A Turn towards Rebuilding Socially
Gamers are often drawn to the virtual relationships and community that is fostered during the online gaming experience. Consider seeking out and becoming involved in other social groups within your area.
- Join a support group that includes others that are recovering from addiction.
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to seek out special interest groups and clubs.
- Ask friends and coworkers what types of social activities they participate in and enjoy.
- Consider attending church, they often have small groups that are set up by age and family status that allow people of similar life demographics to interact and build comradery.
- Participate by volunteering in local service projects donating time and resources to non-profits.
All of these are great ways rebuild and develop healthy social habits.
Rebuilding Physical Health
Exercise and healthy eating are important pieces to creating healthy habits. Research supports that exercise not only improves physical health, but mental health as well.
Consider taking your online gaming subscription dollars and utilizing those for a gym membership or taking a healthy eating cooking class. Gyms and classes provide the ability to have someone training you to educate and encourage motivation. They also allow you to meet people and socialize. It’s a win-win for someone looking to recover from a gaming addiction.
Take a look at running, it may take a while to build up your stamina and endurance, but joining a running group is often free and provides social and physical benefit. Some groups get together regularly to train for running events, including 5ks, 10ks and marathons.
Fitness and Adventure
If your addiction centered around games that provided a feeling of adventure, considering these more adventuresome physical activities:
- Rock climbing (indoors at rock climbing gyms or enjoying the outdoors)
- Mountain biking
- White water rafting
- Scuba diving
These can be a more dangerous so be sure and get educated on proper equipment and safe execution before you start – look at local colleges or retail outlets that may have beginner’s classes and clubs. Starting out with a beginner’s course can teach those without prior athletic experience to have a new found love for physical fitness.
There is hope in recovery from an addiction to gaming. If you or loved one is struggling with this addiction seek out professional help and support from a professional therapist or treatment center. Begin rebuilding today and making healthy habits a priority.
About the author: Jane McGuire is the Director of Content at Eating Disorder Hope & Addiction Hope. Jane graduated from Eastern Oregon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jane believes that everyone has a story of trial, that when shared, can be used to benefit and encourage someone else who is struggling to find hope and direction.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 11, 2016
Published on AddictionHope.com