Computer game addiction: When do you become addicted?

Computer game addiction: When do you become addicted?

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Computer game addiction can affect everyone

I just have to do a quest - and another hour is already in the country. Computer games have a special appeal for many people. It's not just children and adolescents who are passionate gamers. More and more adults are playing games of all kinds.

Computer game addiction is now a recognized addiction. If the games or the Internet itself become more important to a person than the rest of life, experts will pay attention. Because then there might be a dependency.

Computer game addiction: two cases

Two young men are addicted to online role-playing games and therefore drop out of their training independently. "The game has taken up more and more space," says an addiction counselor from the Diakonisches Werk Rhein-Lahn, to whom the two trainees turned.

The older of the two did not pay rent, nor did he take care of other things. As a result, he lost his apartment - a wake-up call. "That was the reason for him to seek advice." The other trainee had tried to get in-patient help even before the consultation. In both cases, the advice center finally placed the men in therapy.

Abstinence impossible

According to the consultant, the difficulty compared to other addictions such as alcoholism is the importance of the media. “For example, I can lead an alcohol-free life. But I can't choose to live a media-abstinent life. That is completely illusory in our society. ”Thereby, therapy is about communicating media skills.

Is my child dependent on the media?

In addition to those affected, worried parents also turn to the advice center. Then he first tries to find out whether their child is actually spending a great deal of time on the computer or smartphone. "It is important that the contacts are still there in real life." In order to control media consumption, it can already help if parents agree on fixed usage rules with their children. These would then have to apply to both sides so that parents could lead by example.

It can affect everyone!

According to the doctor Klaus Wölfling, there is no particularly vulnerable group of people. "It can affect everyone," says the psychological director of the outpatient clinic for gambling addiction at Unimedizin Mainz. Everyone experiences a vulnerable phase like a job crisis or an unfortunate partnership. Then an addiction could develop as a supposed way out. A previous mental disorder does not have to exist for this. "We have at least as many or more who had no disorder before the addiction developed."

Noises from games can trigger the desire

According to Wölfling, there are some parallels to other dependencies in the case of a computer or internet addiction - such as alcohol or tobacco. Those affected showed a certain behavior to a stimulus that was neutral for other people. This could be, for example, a certain sound from a game or the sound of a computer fan. "Then he gets an irresistible desire that he can't resist."

Escape to the virtual world

When is frequent computer gaming questionable? A sign of a possible dependence is above all the loss of control, says Wölfling. "They set out to spend less time on it and don't make it." For example, people could no longer spend their free time without a PC. "The environment notices it more through withdrawal, apathy."

Where everything is nicer and better

Inpatient therapy against computer and internet addiction is offered in a clinic in Neunkirchen, Saarland, among others. When asked about the emergence of such a dependency, the senior physician Holger Feindel spoke of a misguided attempt to deal with problems and of an "escape to the virtual world, where everything is better, better".

What does the therapy look like?

During therapy, among other things, the actual cause of the addiction had to be identified and worked up. In addition, the patient is taught media skills so that he no longer uses what is harmful to him. A third mainstay are alternative hobbies for computer games or internet use. “This frees up an incredible amount of time.” Living without addiction therapy without a PC - incidentally, according to Feindel, a patient doesn't have to. "For example, there is no rule that we would prohibit him from playing any computer games." (Vb; source: Ines Klose, dpa)

Author and source information

Video: Addiction Gaming Disorder - Psychiatry (August 2022).