Gaming addiction is a term used to describe a situation in which individuals play video games to the extent that their lives and welfare suffer as a result. Gaming addiction is generally described as featuring social and psychological symptoms such as isolation, mood swings, and social awkwardness in addition to physical detriments such as carpal tunnel and obesity. Gaming addiction is often seen as an attack on the gaming community by gamers. However, the goal in treating gaming addiction is not to stop the addict from playing video games at all, but instead to teach them to play video games in such a way and to such an extent that they can put other aspects of their life such as their social behavior and employment first.
Online gaming addiction is a separate but related phenomenon to gaming addiction. The primary difference is that online gaming addiction features the playing of online games over traditional console or computer gaming. Online gaming addiction is interesting and unique because online gamers often do not feel the social isolation that console gamers do. This is because online games usually have a social aspect which leads online gamers to feel as though they have a fulfilling social life even when they rarely or never interact with other human beings outside of a virtual setting.
Online gaming has several seductive and invasive aspects which can lead to problems in addictive personalities. First, online gaming is usually based upon in-game achievements, leading gamers to feel as though they had actually accomplished something at the end of each day, even if their living conditions and social life are suffering. Secondly, online gaming can be incredibly time consuming. Such games are usually impossible to “beat” and so there is always something new to do. If a gamer has trouble setting realistic limitations for their selves they may find themselves playing the game for far longer than they intended and not entirely intentionally.
Treatment for online gaming addiction usually involves a period of abstinence followed by teaching the gamer to self-enforce time management restrictions. Treatment for online gaming addiction also generally involves teaching the gamer to manage their priorities better. Employment and a fulfilling social life are stressed as being more important to the gamer than the game. Most online gaming addicts are proud of their in-game characters and can loathe surrendering an opportunity to gain a unique item or build their character. Breaking this ideology is the most important step to helping them change their habits.