Signs and Symptoms of Gaming Addiction

Video game controller used in Internet Gaming Addiction

Internet gaming is big business today, in fact, billions of dollars are spent annually on video or internet gaming. Video gaming has impacted people all over the world. Men and women across the globe are gaming, some excessively and for some, it has become an addiction.

The Types

Gaming has come a long way from the Atari console with the Pong cartridge, where the player enjoyed an accelerated version of tennis.

Games, such as the Final Fantasy series or Tomb Raider have graphics that make the gaming experience more realistic for the gamer. Games can be so realistic that it is difficult to decipher if you are looking at a game or a television show.

Games provide a variety of options to entice people interested in science fiction, history, law enforcement, crime, comics, and military strategy. Gamers today are playing on their smartphones and televisions, Xboxes, PlayStations, and computers. Electronic games can be found on the backs of airplane seats, motel televisions, and now the tables of some restaurants.

Many people across the United States, South East Asia, and Europe are plugged in and focusing on their games.

The Draw

So why is gaming so appealing? Gaming provides a sense of achievement for those that continue to play and improve. Either competing against yourself to beat your high score, or leveling up on a multi-player game to get the admiration of others, the impact can be alluring.

Multiplayer gaming has the draw of the social experience. People are forming gaming parties across the internet and across the globe, chatting with others to work towards completing game levels as a team.

For someone that finds social settings uncomfortable selecting a social setting that avoids face to face contact is intriguing. Players are often able to select their character, choose its physical attributes and even its clothing. The gamer can take on another persona and break away from their everyday routine making the escape to an alternate life part of the attraction.

Today’s gaming allows you to be the hero or the villain. For those that are drawn to adventure, the thrill can be achieved without ever leaving the comforts for their homes.

The Symptoms

It can be difficult to distinguish between excessive gaming and a gaming addiction. Some of the signs and symptoms to look for in a gaming addiction are:

  • Brain Mind Mindfulness Conscious Awake AwareBehavioral changes – withdrawing from relationships, distancing self from family and friends.
  • Lack of focus – effecting productivity including education or employment
  • Fatigue, sleep interruption or insomnia
  • Emotional strain including aggression, stress, loneliness and depression
  • Physical changes – weight gain, and even seizures

If you are questioning whether or not you are suffering from this addiction, try asking the following questions. Be truthful regarding the results you find.

  • Are you able to set structured limits on your gaming and hold to those?
  • Are you able to comfortably walk away from gaming for an extended amount of time without it affecting you emotionally?
  • Are you showing the symptoms of gaming addiction that are listed above?
  • Check with a few of the people closest to you for honest feedback, are they concerned that you may have a gaming addiction?

If you or someone you love is struggling with a gaming addiction, you are not alone. Reach out to a professional for an evaluation. The need for treatment is being recognized and as this addiction grows, treatment centers are opening and expanding across the world to provide support in treatment and recovery. It is important to reach out to a trusted expert for help.

The concern with an addiction to gaming is that while you are living your alternative life, your real life is not being lived. It is passing by and can change in an instant. Take the time to seek help and re-engage. You will find the greatest adventure is the one you are living right here.

About the author:

Jane McGuireAbout 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 18, 2016
Published on


Kuss, D. J. (2013, November 14). Internet gaming addiction: Current perspectives. Retrieved January 27, 2016, from

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.